Tag Archives: Las Vegas

Review: Cirque de Soleil’s “O” – An Aquatic Masterpiece

O cirque

The last time I visited Vegas  (in 2009) I had a chance to see “KA” and immediately fell in love with what the Cirque has to offer.  This time I had the opportunity to see “O” while in town for the PubCon digital marketing conference. Presented on a spectacular custom stage built in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, “O”  was one of the most fantastic and beautiful performances I’ve ever seen.  After reading almost 100% positive reviews of this show, I was excited to see this famous Cirque production for myself, and I was not disappointed. The inspiring acrobatics of the Cirque de Soleil were featured in tandem with a uniquely innovative and equally dazzling moving water stage that produced realistic wild waves during the artistic performance. Watching any Cirque de Soleil performance is like reading a love letter to performance art, and “O” added the element of being a beautiful reminder that all living things are dependent on water.

richard macdonald

Before I even got into the uniquely designed theater in the Bellagio, I was diverted with the rest of the audience through the Richard MacDonald art gallery, a sculpture gallery that makes up the entryway to the “O” theater, full of MacDonald’s beautiful bronze sculptures of Cirque performers and acrobats. I had never heard of Richard MacDonald before, and none of the reviews I read mentioned the gallery, so I wasn’t expecting to see his amazing bronze statues leaping, dancing, and hanging in space. Inspired by poses from Cirque de Soleil aerialists, acrobats, and clowns alike, some of MacDonald’s pieces seem to defy gravity; his aerialists and acrobats look truly weightless, and the poses look reading to burst into life at a moment’s notice. Though it was an unexpected surprise, the gallery turned out to be a perfect introduction to the show, and somehow managed to get me even more excited to see “O”, one of the best performances in Vegas.

The title of the aquatic extravaganza “O” is a play on the French word “eau” pronounced the same way, meaning water. Even when the 1.5 million gallon pool that makes up the stage is not in use, which is almost never, the actors and performers always seem to illustrate the fluidity and freedom of water. Complete with wave effects, special lighting and underwater breathing systems for performers, the water stage is a really impressive feat of engineering and design. The show’s amazing synchronized swimming, underwater acrobatics and other acts were all given a beautiful and original soundtrack by the Cirque’s incredible live music acts, but the musicians were all tucked up and above the stage behind protective barriers, which turned out to be a good thing once water started flying.

I was sitting further back in the house so I didn’t get wet, but it looked like the first couple rows got a pretty good splashing to go with their evening’s entertainment. Even without a light soaking, “O” left me awed at what the human body can do, and what a dramatic and beautiful part life giving water can play in all that.


Criss Angel “Believe” Review: Magnificent Illusions in Las Vegas

This October I took some time off from my parental leave to attend the PubCon online marketing conference in Las Vegas.  I don’t drink or gamble so my favourite Vegas activity is attending the great shows they have to offer throughout the city.  On my last trip to Vegas I saw the Cirque show “KA” and fell in love with what the Cirque has to offer.   I have always been mesmerized by the YouTube videos of Criss Angel’s illusions and I loved the idea of seeing him live in the Cirque du Soleil production “Believe”.

I lucked out since the show was playing at the Luxor, where I was staying during my trip.   I stayed at the Luxor the last time I was in Vegas also and I love the Egyptian theme of the building. Every night I was taken in by the powerful light streaming from the top of the Pyramid that houses the Luxor shows, the Titanic Exhibition and Casino.


When it was time for the show, it was easy to navigate from my hotel room to the performance stadium. The theater had a dark and eerie feel which, to be honest, spiked my anticipation. I could tell other audience members were excited to be there as well.

The show itself was very good. I had read a number of reviews claiming that he is the best magician in  Las Vegas, and he did not disappoint. The strip promotes a lot of fun and quirky magicians to see; after all, it is one of the trademarks of Las Vegas. The program brochure claims that he performs over 40 illusions, and I have to say he delivered on every one.

This show is much more than a magic show. It is fun, it is engaging, and it is even dangerous at times. I applaud Criss Angel on the right combination of lights, music, and fire along with the entertainment. I was particularly engaged at how he keeps eye contact with the audience. It is as if he’s personally welcoming you to the show.

Although I had a great time at the production, there were a couple of downsides. One is the comedic breaks he takes between the acts where his goofy assistant does some lame stand-up and simple tricks.  It’s not quite as well executed as the comedic breaks in the other Cirque shows I have seen.  At the same time, I understand all performers need a break during their shows.  The other is his self-promotion. Do not get me wrong; I feel every performer should have the opportunity to promote their work, but I think he does it a little too often.   He also spent several minutes talking about how he is rated the best magician in Vegas, how he has the most YouTube downloads, and how he has the most time on TV etc.  All those quick facts could have been put into the program brochure instead of interrupting the flow and fun of the show.

I do not want to give away too much of his performance, but his introductory mind reading trick on people that were clearly chosen at random was stunning and had me at the edge of my seat for the rest of the show. If you like watching variety shows like “America’s Got Talent” or have never been to a magic show this is a must attend show while you are in Vegas.