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‘Absinthe,’ ‘Atomic’ looking at Australia options

Updated December 14, 2020 - 7:39 pm

The Gazilloinaire might need to pack it up.

Spiegelworld founder Ross Mollison is entertaining options to move his Vegas hit shows to Australia.

The impresario told Melbourne’s The Age newspaper that he might move “Absinthe” and “Atomic Saloon Show” to Australia if COVID conditions don’t improve soon here.

“Our creative team would love to come and do a show in Australia right now – it sounds like a great place to be. We can bring Vegas to Australia,” Mollison told the publication.

Mollison said Sunday he would further review his options after Gov Steve Sisolak announced he would extend the state’s COVID “pause” through Jan. 15. “I will have to talk to the team,” Mollison texted.

“Atomic,” especially, is ripe for a move as it has yet to reopen at The Venetian. Plans for the show to relaunch in the first week of January at Palazzo Theater have been put on hold.

“Atomic” could perform on the rooftop venue of the Crown resort in Melbourne, where “Absinthe” has previously showcased. Mollison told the Australian market, and anyone in Las Vegas paying attention, “We can run (Absinthe) for three weeks but if the Nevada governor doesn’t let us go back to a higher (audience) number, we’ll have to shut.

“Our other two shows have now been shut for nine months. These kids have got nothing, and unemployment runs out in Nevada in two weeks.”

Mollison went on to say his company is in “a desperate situation,” adding, “We’ll know in the next week whether we have any chance getting (Saloon) on by February, and if not, maybe we’ll bring it to Crown.”

Australia has effectively suppressed the virus enough to reopen live entertainment. Currently, homegrown stars Human Nature, who have closed at Sands Showroom at The Venetian, are on a brief tour of the country.

The Age story quotes Evelyn Richardson, chief executive of industry lobby group Live Performance Australia, as saying there is “big potential” for the Australia-New Zealand touring circuit in 2021-22.

“We’ve done well suppressing the virus and creating a much more stable environment than any other markets,” she says. “We feel there is an opportunity for Australia, from an international point of view, to be able to leverage that and invest in that.”

As for “Absinthe” and sister shows “Atomic” and “Opium,” Mollison is running out of options. As noted previously and repeatedly, “Absinthe” seats 660 per show, but during COVID was drawn down to about 150, and now 50. A show that normally sells 8,000-9,000 per week. Now it’s selling 500.

“I can see my entire business disappearing,” Mollison said. “I don’t know what is happening in Vegas. But I have to find work for our artists and shows.”

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian and Palazzo.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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