Sci-fi satire ‘Opium’ brings warped humor to the Las Vegas Strip

Updated April 11, 2018 - 2:12 pm

The hotel with the slogan “The Right Amount of Wrong” now has the right amount of weird.

Employing satirized sci-fi as its backdrop, “Opium” has opened, for real, at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The show is performed in hotel’s upper cosmos, or in this case the second-level Opium Theatre at Rose. Rabbit. Lie.

Newbies to the resort might need a map to find that venue, but it is worth the (star) trek. Certainly there is no show in Vegas quite like this interplanetary farce, which is like an episode of “Lost In Space” hijacked by Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

We’ve had a lot of fun with the cast of Spiegelword’s latest production, especially estimable producer/character Harry M. Howie. He’s set the tenor with a continual roll-out of such cast members as Tammy Babcock (a comic singer who plays cruise director Leslie) and Dr. Roger Regis and Nurse Raquel (health-care professionals who perform magic in the show).

On this ride we’ve enjoyed hot apple pies at two McDonald’s outposts — one at the D Las Vegas and another on West Tropicana Avenue. We’ve been carted around by two chauffeurs, including an Uber driver (who sure looks like Chip from the show) who barely avoided a serious collision on a return to the hotel.

We also met a burly and surly limo driver in a blue-satin jacket and black cap who might actually be in the witness protection program.

Enough with the hype, though. “Opium” launched with its red-carpet opening Sunday night. The most sensible —if that word can be employed — means of breaking down this show is with an FAQ (First-time Asked Questions for the just-opened show):

What is “Opium,” anyway? A color-splashed ride through space and time peppered with wild musical numbers, raunchy comedy and unique side acts. Expect one randomly exposed breast, a fair amount of spittle and the requisite mushed bananas.

Which cast member looks most like Harry M. Howie? Rob the Robot, dressed in a shiny silver two-piece outfit and matching plastic hairpiece. Rob claims he’s a “Roomba 5000” model (but far more advanced than his vacuum-cleaning namesake) and befriends Chip, his first and only best friend.

At one point, Rob falls to its knees to inhale confetti from the stage, much like a vintage Roomba. In any other show, this would be a standout moment. In “Opium,” it is entirely in context.

What is the specialty talent of Scottie, the ship’s maintenance man? Spinning up to (by my count) 20 hula hoops.

Are there bananas used in the show? Yes, two at least.

Is this an act you remember? Yes, for its projectile and regurgitating qualities.

What happens when Spiegelworld producers use bananas as props? Comedy gold, always.

Bubble girl in the show? Yes. Bubble girl in the show. Bubble is to Spiegelworld what trapeze is to Cirque du Soleil. Gotta have it.

Are all the side acts themed for space travel? Loosely, and only when necessary.

Who are the Many Moons? The band.

Where would we find Spacecrabs? He’s the drummer.

Best space-themed musical number? “Fly Me to the Moon” opens the night, fittingly enough.

Why does the gay sword swallower “Todd” seems so familiar? He was in “Vegas Nocturne,” in that same room, and as a sub act in “Absinthe,” and “Band of Magicians” which is still on, um, hiatus from Tropicana Theater.

Can I find a body balancer working with a Chihuahua? Of course. Yuri (who seems to hail from the former Soviet Union) and the little doggie, Sputnik.

The show unveils the iPhone 47. What is its chief defect? Short battery life.

Lou Tenant is, what again? A unicycle-riding, juggling lieutenant.

Why is he costumed in leather, as Freddie Mercury? So he can juggle and cycle to “I Want to Ride My Bicycle” and ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’ ”

But a band member sings “Bicycle,” and Lou Tenant lip-syncs “Another One Bites The Dust.” Why the inconsistency? Because it’s a Spiegelworld show. Just roll with it.

Who sings it loud and proud? Dusty Moonboots, towering at the center of the mischief, exploring all the keys.

Best costume model? Also Dusty Moonboots.

Love will keep us together? Yes, just ask Captain Ann Tenielle, who inspires that very number.

“Opium” means, what, exactly? It’s the lengthened version of Orbital People Mover 4.2 (OPM 4.2), which is the name of the spacecraft.

Doesn’t OPM also mean, “Other People’s Money?” Yes, but not in this case. Really.

How many random “space” references are in the show? My guess is 2001.

How is “Opium” different from “Vegas Nocturne,” which played the same theater four years ago? Smaller. Fewer acts. Reduced cast. Venue seating capacity is cut from 450 to 262. A zany cabaret show compared to a lavishly populated production. (Lest we forget, despite its financial troubles, “V.N.” was jammed with talent, showcasing such breakout acts as Piff the Magic Dragon, Sean and John Scott, “Bathtub Boy” David O’Mer, among others.)

How is “Opium” different from “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace? Same points as above. “Absinthe” is a juggernaut in part because it snared some of the best acts from the rubble of “Vegas Nocturne.” “Absinthe” performs regularly to sell-outs in a 600-seat venue and just celebrated its seventh anniversary. Intentionally, and wisely, the smaller-scope “Opium” is not trying to be a sequel to “Absinthe.”

OK, then, name a show with a similar vibe? “Zombie Burlesque,” a holy terror at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. A righteously casted host, similar underground feel in a 250-seat theater, live band, no-holds-barred writing, expertly conceived costumes, spot-on choreography … “Z.B.” is the show that most reminds me most of “Opium.”

Who is brave? Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Chief Executive Officer Bill McBeath. He hung in with Spiegelworld and the company’s artistic equity to finally land a follow-up to “Vegas Nocturne.” Now McBeath is betting on the space cadets in “Opium,” and you know what? So am I.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter and @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table.
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Get a sneak peek at Palace Station's newest renovations
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson gives a first look at what Palace Station's $192 million renovation will bring. Some areas will begin opening to the public next week according to Nelson. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
New Marilyn Musical Brings Screen Icons Life To Strip
Paris Las Vegas hosts musical bio featuring new, old tunes. (Carol Cling Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like