REVIEW — Cirque After Dark: Zumanity (Las Vegas)
Cirque du Soleil often steps into the bizarre.
These productions are peculiar fantasies, usually gracefully strange and admirable in their eccentricity. And then there’s Zumanity: a risqué cavalcade of what-the-fuck-ness.
Described as “a celebration of sexuality and love” and the only adults-only Cirque show in Vegas, Zumanity is the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil and an orgy of sex humor and innuendos — sometimes clever, usually crass — with every joke or gag relating to human anatomy or sex acts. One doesn’t have to be a prude to be unamused by the low-hanging fruit that is Zumanity’s style of comedy, more suiting of an episode of Family Guy than a Las Vegas stage show.
Zumanity tends to go overboard with its unrestrained “R” rating, like a hormonal fourteen year old: everything is sexualized, everything is made dirty. Despite the show’s mature rating, what comes across is a juvenile level of immaturity unexpected of Cirque, whose other productions — namely Michael Jackson ONE, KA, The Beatles LOVE, and Mystère — manage to entertain and delight without coming across as unsophisticated.
Zumanity takes an unabashed ownership of its sexuality, sometimes embarrassingly so and without a trace of shame, its provocative sexual edge lending a kind of paranoia to the proceedings as performers prey on unsuspecting audience members, roping and groping Jane and John into the cast’s bubble of sexual deviance.
“Do you want to see some titties?” asks Dick, half of the Dick and Izzy clown duo, to a resounding “yes” from the audience. Surprisingly tasteful and restrained male and female nudity follows in-between the impressive feats of physicality and skill Cirque’s talented performers are best known for, with acts that include a sensual contortionist pairing in an oversized fishbowl, a rocking aerial chain swing, body dislocation, a hand to hand balancing act, pole dancing and walking, a cage and pole fight, a whip dance, aerial straps with a BDSM bend, and a pint-sized performer taking to the skies on nothing more than a sheet.
To more conservative show goers, Zumanity may be whittled down to raunchiness and perversion. To less conservative show goers willing to embrace a little less inhibition, Zumanity is a fun Thursday night out. Part cabaret and part burlesque, Zumanity is host to almost inhuman ability; the performers are as talented as you’ll see anywhere in Vegas, even if much of the talent on display is often overshadowed by F-bombs and bawdy one-liners.
The 18+ Zumanity can only be found at New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Tickets.