Cirque Delivers with “Mad Apple”

The rambunctiously fun grand opening of Mad Apple at New York-New York on May 26 made it official: This is the age of the variety show on the Las Vegas Strip.

Pro sports events and superstar residencies have been grabbing the spotlight lately—and pushing the Vegas entertainment experience into colossal venues. But something gets lost in all that bigness, a sense of salience, or maybe just that feeling that anything can happen.

Whatever that is, you’ll find it fully restored at the three variety shows produced by Spiegelworld, starting with the comedy juggernaut Absinthe; and in brand-new productions on and off the Strip inspired by that company’s sensibilities—Miss Behave’s Mavericks at Cheapshot on Fremont Street, Rouge at the Strat and Cirque du Soleil’s Mad Apple.

These modern spins on a traditional genre are funny and sexy; they splash excitement across the stage through daring acrobatics and other inspired physical feats; and everything is tossed in a flavorful salad dressing of inappropriateness. That’s the sauce.

Cirque is certainly not known for the sauce, but you’ll be impressed by how much gets drizzled into Mad Apple. As soon as it gets going—when last call is announced for the three bars on the stage(!)—the emcee will likely unleash a few F-bombs as he ushers in the first performer. By the time stand-up comedians Brad Williams and/or Harrison Greenbaum take the stage, you’ll have completely forgotten you’re at a Cirque show. (Also, both are terrific.)

Mad Apple is sardine can-packed with performance. Several sequences are visually and aurally overwhelming. One scene offers two different acrobatic duos simultaneously flipping and flying, while musicians, singers and dancers layer a live soundtrack of NYC-inspired tunes through the 1,200-seat theater. There’s freestyle rap from Brit transplant Chris Turner, stunning vocals from musical director Xharlie Black and his crew, and signature Cirque excitement when an acro-troupe dunks basketballs—and themselves—through various hoops. Be ready for a whirlwind 80 minutes.

Mad Apple is different, but Cirque has created shows like this before. There’s a full-circle feeling to this production in this venue, where Zumanity ran for some 17 years. Spiegelworld, which will bring a fourth show to the Strip in 2023, walked the path carved by Zumanity and expanded on its tone, humor and sexuality, all risqué for the times. Now naughtiness is necessary, seemingly employed in every production show on the Strip.

Make no mistake, Mad Apple is in its own lane, a different take on this style of show. Most importantly, it’s fun and it feels wild, which is exactly what Cirque wanted and what audiences appear to be craving these days.

{ SOURCE: Las Vegas Weekly }