I was privileged to be at the opening of Cirque Du Soleil's production of "Viva Elvis" at the then newly opened ARIA Resort and casino - one of Las Vegas’ newest high profile properties located as it is in the much touted City Center. The news that the show was about to close brought me back.
I should start by saying that I am a huge fan of Cirque and many of their great productions. I consider "Mystere" (my favorite by the way), "O", and "Ka" to be amongst the finest shows I have been privileged to review around the world. "Elvis" however is not one of them!
Perhaps that is why this August it will close it's doors here in Las Vegas.
Having said all that let me add that the show got a standing ovation and every member of the amazing cast was outstanding. I’m sure if you were from out of town and had never seen a Cirque show before you would have loved every minute of it.
Perhaps I was spoilt by "Jersey Boys"- no one leaves this show believing they had just seen Frankie Valli, but you left with a feeling of having got a little closer to the amazing life of this great icon. This was certainly not the case with "Elvis".
Sure, the documentary footage that runs as an ever changing backdrop to some truly amazing acrobatic acts and performers was fascinating to any Elvis fan but we've all seen it a thousand times over the years. I had been privileged to attend one of the King's last performances at the then Las Vegas International Hotel in the late 70's and will never forget that evening.
I would have been delighted to have had a good Elvis impersonator that would have allowed me to get all caught up in the excitement each time he walked on stage and I would have had no problem if he mimed the whole show! The success of Frank Marino's "Divas" show (He's been headlining for over 20 years) is an outstanding example of just how realistic and enjoyable a good 'impersonation' can be!
The shows publicity reads as follows:
"Viva ELVIS, a harmonious fusion of dance, acrobatics and live music, is a tribute to the life and music of Elvis Presley. Nostalgia, modernity and raw emotion provide the backdrop for his immortal voice and the exhilaration and beauty of his music."
I guess most of this is true but for me they should have left out the bit about "raw emotion".
For this reviewer at least "Elvis had truly left the building"