Local Vegas Bright writer Kenzie Marie heads to The Rio, not for the WSOP, but to catch the new WOW – World of Wonder production.
WOW! The Rio gets its very own Cirque-esque show.
The Rio? Is it even open when the WSOP isn’t being held there. I don’t think I’ve ever been inside unless it’s May, June or July. Here it is October and I see a sign. A woman propped atop the letters WOW, her back arched and a spray of water jetting from her hair. Is there a new show in Vegas.? I must know more! Okay, Rio…you have my attention.
WOW is the very latest Cirque style variety show to open here in Las Vegas. This show had a successful 15 year run overseas, most recently being held at the Isrotel Theatre in Eilat, Israel. In August, it opened here at the Rio Showroom and boasts a variety of circus-style performances, dancing, as well as a few acts featured on “America’s Got Talent.”
Before I talk about WOW, let me start by saying I have seen most of the Cirque shows here in Las Vegas and, although I have enjoyed them all, the gold standard, in my opinion, is Mystere at Treasure Island. I have seen it numerous times since it opened 14 years ago and every time the clown interaction with the audience is engaging and funny, the acts are well choreographed and the show flows flawlessly from one act to the next. Now, let me tell you about WOW.
I went with two friends for the Thursday 7:00 pm performance. We sat at booth 10, a cozy table just above stage level. Brace yourself…the tickets ran us $200.00 each. As a Vegas local, I never pay this much for a ticket. Before I even stepped into the theater this show had a lot to prove.
The WOW theater is an intimate venue with seating around a small central stage and a backstage featuring a water floor. This is no “O” or “La Reve,” but the water does add a fun dimension to the different acts and the dancing. If you sit close to the stage you will probably even get a little wet. In this theater, you feel very close to the action and at times it was intense. In a few spots, I found myself saying WOW and not just because the clown cued me to do so.
I was impressed with many of the acts. They were well put together and entertaining, but if you have been to the Cirque shows on the strip, you have seen most of them. Except for maybe Sylvia Sylvia who shoots an apple from atop her own head using a series of precisely aligned crossbows. She definitely had me on the edge of my seat. Far less impressive was the human water fountain. A guy who drinks a gallon of water and then spits it out like a fountain. If I wanted to see people throw-up what they just drank, I could do that for free on Fremont Street outside any of the bars.
Where the show really lost me were the clown acts. At many of the Cirque shows the clowns come out early and warm up the audience. They continue to entertain the audience throughout the night preventing downtime as they swap between acts. In my opinion, the clowns are a critical unifying piece to any Cirque show. The night we attended, the show started 10 minutes late and when the clown finally appeared, he wasn’t very engaging and the audience was slow to warm up to him. Instant kill factor. I spent the rest of the night trying not to be annoyed every time he appeared.
Taking everything into consideration I thought the show was good. Was it $200.00, drive to the Rio, get a little wet good? No! I would rather spend my money and time rewatching one of the proven Cirque shows I’ve already seen. Unless they can get their clown act together, I think WOW’s run in Vegas will be less than WOW!