73°F
weather icon Clear

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Mystere’ never disappoints

Cirque du Soleil will be making a push to advertise what’s new about “Mystere,” but the show’s real strengths are still the things that aren’t.

When Cirque had to close “Zed” in Japan last year, it made room for two of the acts to land in “Mystere,” the oldest of the company’s seven Las Vegas titles — and coincidentally, one that now has a separate landlord at Treasure Island, which is not concerned with the inter-casino priorities of MGM Mirage.

But the new acts don’t really come off so new. How much you will be impressed, or really even notice, is a matter of nuance.

In the first, a female soloist, Ginger Ana Griep-Ruiz, takes flight entwined in long swaths of silk fabric. The basic premise is seen all over town in various shows and nightclubs. But this is Cirque, so she does it at higher altitude, falls farther before catching herself and swings way out over the first rows of the audience.

Her music, too, is classic Cirque counterpoint: subdued classical guitar and airy vocalizations from the two female singers.

The other change is a new team performing the closing trapeze act, which was always the weakest link of “Mystere.” It’s physically distanced from most of the audience, and perhaps just too conventional and old-school to fall so late in a parade of wonders supporting the company’s original premise, “circus reinvented.”

The new troupe uses more compact rigging, but still performs at the very rear of the stage. If you know your trapeze, you may appreciate that more of the catches are made by people hanging upside down from the bar, or that performers such as Ricardo Galvis flip as they fly to the opposite bar.

If the changes alone don’t add up to a marketing campaign, the show as a whole never disappoints. With 18 years, more than 8,630 shows and 13 million customers under its belt, “Mystere” still reflects the purity of a company that genuinely surprised and delighted us in the early ’90s. There were enough original ideas to go around before six more titles brought the need for high-concept brand ventures such as Michael Jackson songs.

“There are still a lot of people that say it’s their favorite show,” Cirque’s president and CEO, Daniel Lamarre, said before Saturday ‘s show. Lamarre said he likes to play a game with cabdrivers, asking them their favorite show. “Mystere” is “often mentioned.”

Backing up to see the forest through the pastel leotards, one thing comes into focus upon a repeat viewing: “Mystere” is the funniest Cirque on the Strip.

And it wasn’t supposed to have recognizable stars, but now it’s hard to imagine the show without two individuals.

Brian Dewhurst, its unstoppable 78-year-old funnyman and the show’s MVP, literally makes contact with the audience: dumping popcorn on our heads, dragging one of us to the stage to be locked in a box, and knocking a little of the wind out of the etherealness of it all.

A prototypical Cirque character with red bowler hat and bizarre puppet (Marek Haczkiewicz) delivers the announcements at the beginning. When Dewhurst gets the best of him later, he announces in a flourish of Marx Brothers anarchy, “You can smoke now if you want!”

Then there’s Francois Dupuis, who created the “big baby” character and has been finding his Mama or Papa up front for all 18 years. Chances are your children’s memories of this show involve these two guys as much as Paul Bowler, the dude who goes airborne with a big cube.

“Mystere” takes its time with the comedy between acrobatic sequences, and nearly all of the bits somehow involve the audience, even when a pole-climbing acrobat strays off to flirt with a front-row patron. It’s a direct interaction. You don’t see golf carts driving through the audience in the theatrical “Ka” and “Love.”

The acrobatics also shine on their own without the need for context (though if you look for it, there are themes of birth and innocence, and society’s need for ritual — pomp versus circumstance — floating around in there). Flying off a teeter board to a triple-stacked landing, or shimmying up a pole upside down speaks for itself.

If anything about the show seems dated, it’s the new age-ier stretches of the music and some of the costumes by Dominique Lemieux, which have worn into self-parody over the years as Cirque’s surprise attack faded into the Las Vegas norm. Pastel was so ’90s.

Perhaps something to take a look at for the 20th anniversary? With Lamarre confirming Treasure Island’s continued investment and support, it’s just around the corner.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of Las Vegas theater talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Roger Waters melds classic rock, modern concerns

The tour is called “Us + Them” for reasons made very clear. But Roger Waters’ tour stop Friday at T-Mobile Arena also seemed at times to alternate between “us” and “him.”

Mel Brooks makes his Las Vegas debut — at age 91

Comic legend witnessed classic Vegas shows, and his Broadway show ‘The Producers’ played here. But Wynn Las Vegas shows will be his first on stage.