KÀ subverts expectations by largely eschewing the usual Cirque format -- wide-eyed innocent is taken on surreal adventure, beautiful but aimless, complete with acrobats and clowns and lots of weird floaty things -- in favor of an actual plot, as a brother and sister from some mythical Asian kingdom are separated by enemy raiders and have to endure various trials and tribulations before being reunited. Gleefully borrowing imagery from magical realist martial arts movies such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the production makes use of a technically extraordinary set that shifts the stage not just horizontally but vertically, as the action moves from under the sea to the side of a steep cliff and beyond. The circus elements -- acrobats, clowns -- are for once incorporated into the show in a way that makes some loose narrative sense, though this does mean that the physical stunts are mostly pretty much that, rather than feats of derring-do.
The story is by turns funny, tragic, and whimsical. There are at least two moments that are nothing but simple stagecraft and yet are exquisite, among the most memorable of any current Vegas show. The theater is cavernous, but extensive catwalks and other staging tricks mean that those in the back won't feel far from the action. It might be too long and intense for younger children, but older ones will be enthralled -- and so will you. Friday through Tuesday at 7 and 9:30pm.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010