Jabbawockeez release positive energy in ‘Prism’

The Jabbawockeez flip the switch from black and white to color in their new show “Prism.” But really, the whole effort at Luxor brings that “Oz”-like illumination.

Almost any show is better up close, but one with break dancing at its core? If a guy is going to the trouble of crab-hopping on his hands and feet in a straight line across the stage, we should be able to appreciate that.

And now we do. The troupe that spun Las Vegas stardom from a TV competition, “America’s Best Dance Crew,” did what they could with larger spaces at the MGM Grand and Monte Carlo. But those played like an away game compared to their new custom venue.

The theater stacks at least the first 10 or 12 rows of the 830 seats almost on top of the action. We can’t see the faces of the masked dancers but we can see the precision geometry of their dance work and feel how hard they are working.

And the stage pulsates with its own manic rhythms, a theatrical Tokyo or Times Square reflecting all that positive energy it’s absorbing.

Walking in, you wonder if the retrofit — replacing a bygone motion-simulator ride on the second floor — left enough room for seven guys to jump around. But the stage soon fires up like the funhouse on a carnival midway, full of ramps and video panels and missing only the zigzag steps and revolving barrel.

“Prism” also finds the human content more accessible than the last edition, “MUS.I.C.”

Starting the show with Gene Wilder’s “Willy Wonka” song “Pure Imagination” is a pretty clear sign we won’t be in for a night of head-mulching break beats.

Ever since it landed on the Strip in 2010, the troupe has tried to expand its evolution from B-boy dance competitions. Directors Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo continue to build upon the juvenile energy, turning the Jabbawockeez brand into an oddly endearing mix of mime, modern dance and physical theater.

The Jabbawockeez pile into a “car” and go for a ride. They jump into old-school video games, and turn into synchronized Motown hoofers. As a narrator tells us “Life is a balance,” one figure clad in black and another that’s all white do that mirror image routine a lot of us still associate with Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx.

It’s still the youngest show on the Strip, in attitude as well as target audience. The show will test your tolerance of gags depending on audio snippets of songs or movies, and it perhaps overindulges short attention spans by shifting ideas as quickly as the cut-and-splice sound collage that drives them.

And yes, there will be ninjas. The repeated menace to peaceful Jabbawockeez is one of several holdovers from the last show, along with the break-dance version of air guitar on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and a bit where a woman selected from the audience is serenaded by competing crew members.

But it all seems to hang together better this time, with a seamless flow and unifying themes of brotherhood and diversity.

About 15 minutes in, the Jabbawockeez save the day in color-coded costumes reflecting the colors of the rainbow (maybe you’ll catch the later joke about lounge singer Roy G Biv).

The colors help, if not to tell them apart, than to at least better follow who is doing what onstage and where. And at 75 minutes, the new show speeds through its bag of tricks without having to repeat any of them.

Like hip-hop itself, the riffs and punch lines are a pop-culture Cuisinart — don’t forget to throw in “Gangnam Style” and “Harlem Shake” — but end up as something original. And, in this case, irresistibly positive.

They even drain the satire from “The Wayans Brothers” TV theme (“We’re brothers, we’re happy and we’re singing and we’re colored”) and turn the sample into a joke that’s simply cute (because they are colored, seven ways).

If that doesn’t make you smile, then maybe you are too old for this one. But most people on this night went out wanting to dance.

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

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like