I hate to write such a negative review, but this will really save some of you out there a lot of money (about $150 a seat) and time.
Summary: After seeing this show I like Elvis less, don't like Cirque du Soliel at all, probably won't ever stay the Aria hotel, really question the entire City Center development. Yes... the show was that bad.
We were in Vegas for New Years Eve 2009 and thought it would be great fun to see the newest Cirque du Soleil show on the strip and check out the new city center at the same time. But when we walked out of the theater, all we could ask ourselves was, "how do we bounce back from that show and save our new year's eve".
My perspective: I'm not a huge Elvis fan, however I have always enjoyed his music and appreciated showmanship and what he did to break out and help create a new genre of music. As far as Cirque du Soleil goes, I've never seen a show of theirs before so this was my first introduction their work.
The show itself:
It's basically a documentary of Elvis's life and career and is narrated by Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis's long time manager. The narration is done by an actor (trying to keep a Southern accent while dressed up as the overweight Colonel) who gives a short description during set changes of what Elvis was going through at various parts of his career. If you're thinking that feels a little high school drama club... you're right.
There are dancers
There are some acrobats (probably an equal number to the dancers)
There are large movie screens integrated into the sets where they played a lot of old footage of The King including some home movies that a huge Elvis buff would have found pretty interesting i assume, but probably nothing that hadn't been seen before.
The show was 90 minutes without an intermission, which i can see why because if there was one, it would have been the perfect opportunity to leave.
The Numbers: (i can't remember all of them but I'll just point out a couple)
Opened with Blue Suede Shoes: They rolled out a gigantic blue suede shoe with a trampoline in it. Guys started running up it, bouncing out of it and tumbling around the stage. I was thinking, "yeah!! alright!! let's do this!!" i was tapping my foot and enjoying myself. Repeat the same moves for 5 mins and I'm asleep. Literally, i dosed off during the first number, and I'm not one of those guys who can fall asleep standing up in a hammock... it takes a lot to put me down, but this opening number did it. A bad sign of things to come. I did wake up in time to see one of the dancers get dropped on her head... not sure if that was a plus.
Jailhouse Rock: HORRIBLE. Hands down the worst number of the show. It was done on massive scaffolding structure designed to look like a cell block. Half of the dancers where hanging upside down so they could "run" back and forth across the structure while doing flips. So lame. The dance moves were so boring and amateurish. Epic fail.
Comic books: Col Parker set this up by saying, "Elvis was just a regular guy who liked reading comic books. Then a trampoline set with 6 guys dressed up as comic book characters, wearing lucha libre type outfits, bounced around on it. I liked this the most because it had the most action of the entire show, but it had zero to do with Elvis.
Wedding number: there was some slow, romantic acrobatic work done on gigantic his and hers wedding rings hanging and twirling above the stage. The strength and acrobatics were cool to watch, but very slow. I was impressed with the strength moves, but afterwards i was told that nothing compared to a real Cirque du Soliel show. Then they raised Priscilla on a pedestal probably 25 feet off the stage and used a gigantic wedding dress as a movie screen and showed some home movies on it while a bunch of disco balls lit up the stage and audience. This was very slow and boring but was actually one of the more visually stimulating parts of the show.
Western number: the had 3 giant statues of Elvis with a six shooter. Good start. but then the same lame dancing began. They brought out some cowboys to do some lariat rope work. The fans actually cheered when the cowboys lit the rope on fire and kept twirling the lariats. But then it got ugly. One guy couldn't get his extinguished and ended just throwing it into the safety case and the other guy couldn't even get his in the case and a security guy had to come running out and properly extinguish it. The one cowboy was hiding behind the giant Elvis statute and because of my poor seating on the far left of the theater i could see him rubbing his face and checking to see if he burned himself. I think he singed his eyebrows and eye lashes from the way he was reacting.
Viva Las Vegas: The finale!! And really the only reason i didn't leave early because i thought maybe they saved everything for the end and they were going to just blow me away and send me dancing and singing out of the theater. I should have left early. It was a bust. They just put all the performers in different colored Elvis costumes and put purple, yes purple, plastic wigs on them. And they danced. Yippee! Thankfully, this was shorter than the some of the other numbers, then there was one more song in the same costumes and same dancing, then they let me leave.
They tried to do a lot of live musicians playing with Elvis's own voice singing with him. Think Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole singing together. The Cole's attempt at this really worked, however in this show it didn't work. I'm not sure why. I think the sound quality was just too bad. I was sitting in the brand new, state of the art theater, and it sounded like i was listening a huge AM radio.
All i kept thinking about was the negotiations that went on between Cirque du Soliel and Elvis's estate over rights when making this show. I have a feeling that Elvis's estate was pushing for more Elvis (original recordings and home movies) and the Cirque people were pushing for more Cirque. They compromised and both ended up losing.
seats - if you are tall, the seats in the front row of the second section (section 201) have less leg room than normal seat.
"best available" means sitting me on the FAR left side while MANY seat in the center of the theater were wide open. Very annoying. I'm not sure why the box office would do this because it really got me off to a bad start. If anyone from Cirque or the box office reads this, i assume that you save seats for "high rollers" who will want to show up late, but you should move people to the better the seats when we pick up our tickets from will call. I picked them up 30 mins before the show started.... should have been easy.
unintentional comedy. Between the drops and the guys lighting themselves on fire, there could have been some really good laughs if i wasn't so bored. Also, the cheesy zip lines sending people across the stage was worth a laugh or two.
I've been told not to give up on Cirque du Soleil because of this bad experience and that i should go see "O" because it is there best. I might still try to do that, but this was a tough one to get over. I didn't give this lower than a -3 beause i stayed throughout the entire show and there were a couple of positives.