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Ex-Cirque performer Xavier Mortimer reappears on Las Vegas Strip

Updated February 20, 2019 - 9:16 pm

The Kats! Bureau at this writing is 3535 bar at the Linq Hotel. The bar is named for the address of the hotel, which used to be the Imperial Palace, not for the uniform number of ex-NHL great Tony Esposito.

Soon we’ll be checking out the official opening of the Bronx Wanderers show at the second-level Mat Franco Theater. It’s a great rock ‘n’ roll show. It has been said that, if you like “Jersey Boys” … well, I’ll just say I really miss “Jersey Boys.”

But BW can throw it down and jam it up, and is a good fit for the Franco Theater. You know who’s a good guitar player? Franco himself. Maybe some cross-promotional action will happen later, with Franco shredding on “Fortunate Son” and Vin A. performing with the Chinese linking rings. Or Linq-ing rings, in this case.

More from this scene, and elsewhere:

Hanging with the X

The crafty, affable French-born magician Xavier Mortimer re-opened his “Magical Dream” show Tuesday night at Windows Showroom at Bally’s. Mortimer spent three years at Sin City Theater before an Angelic turn of events forced him to seek the Windows opportunity.

The venue is shifting to a magic-mentalist-psychic vibe, with Mortimer moving in with his 6 p.m. show following venue anchor Frederic Da Silva’s “Paranormal” show at 4 p.m. (and Da Silva has found the magical quality/marketing formula to fill that room in an afternoon slot, not easy in VegasVille).

Mortimer is a fascinating study, a well-trained magician and also an able pantomime artist. He did attend mime school in France, which is apparently a highly arduous process (and that’s just learning the face paint). Mortimer has since become the first Cirque du Soleil artist to headline in his own show on the Strip, leaving “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay to chase his magical dream.

In his development, Mortimer has evolved into a driven showman with several dazzling acts. His work with the broomstick is fun, the cymbals act — my favorite — is a slamming money-maker. His convincing pursuit of co-star Allie Sparks is cute and childlike. Mortimer’s is a show you’d easily take a kid to.

But the days when Mortimer could rely upon topnotch production from Cirque du Soleil have long passed. He’s confronted by what I call the Rice Krispies Conundrum (Snap, Crackle & Pop) with his audio setup. It’s difficult to hear him, at times, a crucial concern when he performs so much crowd work.

A kid needs to be able to hear such questions as, “What is an emotion you have when you dream?” You don’t want the answer to be, “Frustration!”

Also, Mortimer has been working on smoothing out his French accent, which is a uniquely engaging quality in a one-on-one conversation, but actually an obstacle in a storytelling stage show. He and his producer, French TV and stage star Alex Goude, are working on sharpening his delivery even as we speak.

But the core of Mortimer’s act, his talent, zeal and training, are all in place. In a city with upwards of 20 magic shows on and off the Strip (and the Naked Magicians of MGM Grand were in the front row, clothed, Tuesday), Mortimer brings something fresh, something whimsical, to the Vegas stage.

About that room

Windows Showroom was once home to Wayne Newton and Bronx Wanderers, as recently as December, before Caesars Entertainment invoked its own magical dream and took over the venue. Those officials are still looking for 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. productions that fit the show’s magic theme.

This would be an apt moment to review a name change for Windows, because the glass is concealed by black drapes. Mystic Showroom, or something similar. The Mystic at Bally’s, maybe.

‘Wow’ in Dubai

“Wow — World of Wonder” is the latest Caesars Entertainment show to open an outpost at Caesars Bluewaters Dubai. Its six-week run premiered Tuesday. “Wow” remains in production at the Rio, which brings us to …

Attell at Comedy Cellar

“So, earlier today I was sharing a hot tub with the guys from Chippendales …” is how Dave Attell started the second of his headlining shows Monday night at the Comedy Cellar at the Rio.

Another rejoinder, “Kim Jong-un, what do you think? Meanie, right? But he seems sooooo ticklish ….”

The Comedy Cellar is battling for attention at the Rio and elsewhere — the hotel’s dominant brand for years has been Penn & Teller, and Caesars is gearing up for Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at the Linq Promenade this spring.

But the Comedy Cellar is worth checking out, locals, for the free parking and a good food menu and some Las Vegas color from the night’s headliner.

What Works in Vegas

Comedy (on keeping with the topic) at The Sayers Club at SLS Las Vegas. Mo’Nique sold out her run of five shows dating to Valentine’s Day through Saturday. Eddie Griffin wiped out the place Tuesday. The room offers comedy nightly, and also debuts “Ester’s Totally Outrageous Brunch” on Saturday. More on that show, soon, but until then here’s our PodKats! episode with the cast.

ShowBuzz!

The Elvis-themed “Heartbreak Hotel” production is a go at Harrah’s Showroom. All we’re waiting for are the details, and confirmation of the next home for the show it is replacing, “Tenors of Rock.” The Tenors had been looking at Sin City Theater, but there is no word on whether that will be their venue … Terry Fator is unveiling a new puppet next month for his 10th anniversary at the Mirage (I hear it’s a Rat Pack-themed figure). Fator, who prides himself on appealing to all political persuasions even with his Donald Trump puppet, has decided to make the formal announcement of this puppet Friday morning on “Fox & Friends.” … Spiegelworld is bringing its new atomic-themed show to the Strip this fall. The bomb drops soon on the where and when of it all … Carrot Top has already invoked his broken left leg into his act at Luxor by falling off his knee scooter in his return to the stage Monday. The crowd gasped, and none of his stage crew helped him up. Thompson recently injured his leg snowboarding in Park City, Utah … Why Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns? Because Monday night, members of Chicago, Diana Ross’s band, and Barry Manilow’s band were all in the SRO crowd at Copa Room at Bootlegger Bistro.

Cool Hang Alert

A first-rate act, Jimmy Hopper and His All-Star Band, headlines Italian American Club Showroom at 8 p.m. Friday. Hopper, a great pianist and vocalist, dates to the opening of VooDoo Lounge at Rio and the Fontana Room at Bellagio. Seats are still available at $25, a mere pittance. Hit the club website for info.

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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