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Strip hit ‘Absinthe’ turns 11; Spiegelworld announces next Vegas show date

Updated April 18, 2022 - 12:36 am

It was all in a night’s work for “Absinthe,” which marked its 11th anniversary last week at Caesars Palace.

The Gazillionaire sucked on a woman’s bare foot. Sean and John Scott took to the tables to tap to great effect. David O’Mer soaked himself (and splashed the first two rows) in his “Bathtub Boy” act. Heather Holliday sashayed with, then swallowed, a half-dozen swords. Ivan Chekov-Jones of “Le Petite Mearde,” the fictional Cirque show headlining in Reno, produced a smashed rose from his Speedos to close the “Cesarean Ballet” number.

And “The Impresario,” Ross Mollison, donned a green jacket he’d not worn since New Year’s Eve 2013. That was the night “Vegas Nocturne” premiered at the Cosmopolitan. The garment was not a good-luck charm, as “Nocturne” shut down the following June.

But Wednesday, the jacket was a winner, same as “Absinthe” and its producer.

“It’s an extraordinary night,” Mollison said as the unqualified hit celebrated its 11th anniversary, which actually passed on April 1. “I’m so proud of everybody. It’s a great cast. It’s a great show.”

Mollison and partner Caesars Entertainment announced in October they are expanding Spiegelworld’s reach, on the Strip and across the country. Mollison said Wednesday that “DiscoShow” is moving to an Aug. 23, 2023, opening at Linq Hotel’s Glitterloft, taking over the old Imperial Palace sportsbook space. Originally titled, “We Are Here,” the dance production is the company’s fourth Strip production.

That opening date has moved from the originally announced New Year’s Eve, 2022. The added months allow for construction time, as Spiegelworld is also planning two other productions outside of Vegas. This is all part of the company’s $75 million partnership with Caesars Entertainment.

The first new project is set for Caesars Atlantic City, in a new venue that will incorporate the facade of Warner Theater on the Boardwalk, which opened in 1929. That show is due to open in the first quarter of 2023.

Then, Spiegelworld’s concept at Caesars Palace New Orleans is to premiere by spring 2024.

“We have so much going on, in our little company,” Mollison said during the anniversary post-party. “When you look at where we were 11 years ago, we didn’t think we’d last past six months in Las Vegas.”

Wednesday’s show proved that “Absinthe” is as strong, ambitious and imaginative as ever. Especially impressive was Holliday’s quirky blade-swallowing number, in which she also gulped down long, curved sword while gleefully working the crowd. The show also returned its dazzling sway-pole number.

Throughout Spiegelworld’s run on the Strip, Mollison has proven he is an able recruiter. As it has for better than a decade, “Absinthe” brims with such inventive acts. Longtime fans of the show were happy to see Maxim Popazov, an original cast member, perform his chair-stack act to open the show.

Mollison, himself, is also a show. The Impresario took the stage to address the anniversary audience. He opened with, “I’d like to say thank-you to the traditional owners of ‘Absinthe,’ Base and Ticketmaster. Unfortunately they couldn’t be here tonight.”

Mollison was tweaking two former partners in the show, obliquely referring to the litigation some seven years ago, between his company and Base over ticketing revenues. That legal battle nearly sent “Absinthe” from Caesars to the Cosmopolitan, as a follow-up to “Vegas Nocturne.”

Of course, the sides settled. “Absinthe” remained in its tented home at Caesars, where raunchy satire reigns and Gaz always has the last laugh.

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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