I can only imagine the want ads for Mystère performers. We’re looking for a person with 3 percent body fat who can do a one-armed handstand atop of said coworkers head who, by the way, is walking a tightrope. Seriously, how does Cirque find these people who make near impossible feats look effortless and oh-so-graceful?
In the case of Mystère, there’s a chiseled cast of 75 performers hailing from a handful of countries. Most of them have trained their entire lives to be this captivating. Needless to say, when I watched the show on my recent trip to Vegas, my mouth was hanging wide open during at least 80 percent of the 90-minute performance.
It begins with a beat of the enormous Japanese taiko drum and continues a spellbinding rhythm throughout with a series of breathtaking acts like The Aerial Cube where a gigantic metal cube is juggled by the performer with ease. By the way, he is gliding through the air while doing this and incorporating artistic ballet moves, too.
Then, there’s the “bungee birds” who delicately dangle from the ceiling and then plunge toward each other for synchronized aerial feats. But my favorite act, by far, was the Chinese Poles where the acrobats use arm and leg power to leap up and down and somersault between poles. They shimmy up the poles like monkeys racing up a palm tree. To get back down, they slide upside down and stop just short of slamming onto the stage floor. Sheesh! (Check out their insane 90-degree holds in the video below.)
Of course, the costumes are just as stunning as the acrobatic moves. That’s what I love about Cirque shows, everything works in perfect unison. The colorful attire, the powerful music, the high-energy stunts. It’s a sensory overload. Plus, there’s always a unique, and sometimes hard to follow, story. In this case, director Franco Dragone describes it as “a celebration of the cycle of life.” Hence, the circular theme throughout, from the semi-round theater (which was custom-built and holds 1,629 people) to the the giant stage with a 36-foot turntable to the globe-like ceiling full of art.
Just as the rousing show dramatically began with the taiko drum, it abruptly ends with the same drum, taking the show full circle. All in all, it’s astonishing in every sense of the word. The only complaint I have: I wish the performance was longer. I just can’t get enough of it.
Show times: Wed.-Sat. 7:30 p.m and 10:30 p.m., Sun. 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.