It wasn’t first with the acrobatics-on-water idea. But “Le Reve” still came up with an idea Cirque du Soleil probably wishes it had first.
People always say of the Cirque shows, “I liked it, but I had no clue of what it was about.”
But when a title that translates into “The Dream”? All they have to say is, “It’s a dream. It’s not supposed to make sense.”
Trees rising out of water. ’60s-secret-agent guys with white tuxes and angel wings. A dinner date at a table floating through the air.
It’s all part of an underwater Oz visited by an unnamed Dreamer (Colby Lemm). She may or may not be a grown-up Dorothy. But she grew up sexy, just as the red heels that shoot upside down from the legs of sunken synchronized swimmers are a lot hotter than ruby slippers.
And so is just about everyone in and around this round swimming pool of a stage, surrounded by the audience at Wynn Las Vegas.
One way “Le Reve” has tried to distance itself from Cirque’s “O” in the past eight years is to pump up the romance and sex appeal, albeit with specific quirks. Not sure what percentage of the population has a fetish for bald men, or women in dripping-wet hair and cocktail dresses. But let’s just say they are well-tended here.
Although the changes in “O” have been subtle over the years, “Le Reve” has lived up to the constantly shifting, morphing nature of a dream. The show is tinkered with more than any the other Las Vegas spectaculars, for a couple of reasons.
First, “Le Reve” wasn’t very good when it opened in 2005. It came off as almost literally a poor(er) man’s “O” as staged by the same director, Franco Dragone, after he left Cirque du Soleil.
But this is the rare show to be bankrolled by the hotel, and most people know that Steve Wynn, the Wynn in the hotel’s name, is hands-on with entertainment. Many of the additions since opening day — such as a ballroom dancing component — came from the top.
And “Le Reve” keeps making little changes, most recently its comic-relief characters performing little feats of stage magic for our Dreamer.
And for those who appreciate the irony, the show that doesn’t need a story has made its sketch of a plot more clear and prominent.
There has always been the character of Morpheus (Didier Antoine), harnessing the powers of his dream world to show off for his new visitor. But now the Dreamer has a both a real-world love (Joseph Rivera) and a dream lover (Sebastian Zarkowski) vying for her attention, giving the show a bit of parallelism for those who care about such things.
The big acrobatic sequences haven’t changed in obvious ways. Because of the theater’s circular configuration, they ride more on human achievement than displays of hardware or stagecraft; the few big set pieces are doled out sparingly.
There’s a lot of jumping and diving from moving objects, including guys who plunge 80 feet from a skylight. A trio of female acrobats, by contrast, try to stay out of the drink as they swing from a sphere high above the water.
When scaffolding creates almost-dry land over the water, there’s a cool gymnastic “splash solo” by Ihosvany Piedra Caesar and an amazing hand-balancing display by Tomasz Wilkosz and Grzegorz Ros. One walks with the other balanced upside down on his shoulders, both of them glistening wet.
If a 75-minute running time takes the “less is more” adage to the point of pushing its wisdom, you may at least be grateful for an end to the music. It’s still all over the place, with instrumentals that sound like Cirque or the soundtrack to a soft-core “Emmanuelle” flick, or songs with English lyrics that sound like Celine Dion B-sides.
One area where “Le Reve” does get ahead of its Cirque competition is the customer experience, and the way the show really feels tied in with the hotel. At least half of the 1,600 seats make you feel right in there with the humid action, and the “worst” in terms of distance (42 feet) are a VIP upgrade, with plush armchairs and champagne service.
There is nearly always a locals special — currently $88 for the $134 seats through Tuesday— and currently a prix fixe dinner/show special at Allegro. Bald guys fighting over you not included.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.