By Nick Pilgrim
“Sin City dazzles in Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs and Spades.”
For more than a decade as a reviewer, I have had the privilege to watch a solid handful of variety acts brought to life in their many ways, shapes and forms.
Featuring everything from singers and dancers to magicians and acrobats, these multi-dimensional stagings have often been linked by a single theme or concept.
Some of the more stand-out examples include:
- Burn The Floor
- Circus Oz – Precarious
- Hot Brown Honey
- The Illusionists 2.0
- Le Noir
- Shaun The Sheep’s Circus Show
- Six More Impossible Things Before Dinner
- Werk It – Tight Fit
Club Vegas – The Spectacle clearly understands both its prime motivation and target demographic. By bringing the mountain to Mohammed, local audiences are given a generous helping of the world’s foremost capital in frivolity and fun.
Put simply, this is a show designed to enthral grown-ups with one simple goal in mind. Club Vegas allows viewers to sit back and soak up over two impressive hours of glitz and glamour. No pressure, or questions asked.
Divided in two by a twenty-minute interval, Club Vegas contains twenty separate segments in total. Each part is a highlight, detailing how the Nevada location has shaped and defined high-concept global entertainment. In short, this is truly a feast for the senses with no expense spared.
Of the production’s many highlights to put punters in the mood, these include:
- An introductory celebration of South America and Mardi Gras.
Chart toppers, Tony Lee Scott and J’aime Holland, work the room singing “Carnivale” and “Viva La Vida Loca”. Backed by twelve dynamic dancers, this rainbow display is an exotic blend of music and movement. Special mention should be made to the elaborate costuming across the board, which accentuates the performers toned bodies as well.
- This is followed by a bit from the show’s engaging emcee. Fans of Wogs Out Of Work or Acropolis Now will easily appreciate Gino Starr. Played by the inimitable James Liotta, Starr teases his self-deprecating brand of continental humour to the hilt.
- Drawing focus, a gigantic, mirrored stiletto shoe takes centre stage for a high-octane JLo (Jennifer Lopez) medley. With energy to spare, the dance ensemble struts their stuff to a selection of the singer’s biggest hits including “Let’s Get Loud” and “Uptown Funk”.
- Acrobat Sasha amazes with feats of endurance, strength, and balance. The highlight of his thrilling routine includes a handstand balanced on small blocks of wood, followed by a one arm planche.
- Next, Jonathan Guthrie-Jones brings matinee idol looks and a Rat Pack sensibility front and centre with classics like “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head”, “Mack The Knife”, “Danke Shoen” and “New York, New York”. Crooning and bantering with the best of them, he would make Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darrin, Michael Bublé, and Wayne Newton very proud indeed.
- Showcasing his masterful versatility, Sasha is joined by partner, Dani, for a fascinating quick-change act. Set to a James Bond – 007 theme, Dani steps into a series of full-length fabric-covered hoops with Sasha’s assistance. Hidden from head to toe, she soon reveals a new costume with each unveiling. Part of this routine’s special charm, how they did that is a secret which will keep viewers forever guessing.
- Drag artist, Fabio, does the late Tina Turner complete justice in a medley which features “Private Dancer”, “Simply The Best”, “River Deep – Mountain High”, and “Proud Mary”. Back by a ten-strong dance ensemble, the group showcase the electrifying stage presence and dance stylings for which Turner was best known.
- Closing out Act One, J’aime Holland and Jonathan Guthrie Jones share the stage in a sublime duet to “Perfect”. They are joined by Dani, whose aerial silks ballet is simply breathtaking to watch.
- Taking us beyond Studio 54’s velvet rope, Holland follows this up with a pumping disco tribute to tunes like “Disco Inferno”, “Never Can Say Goodbye”, “Love Is In The Air”, and “Last Dance”.
- Very much a show which features some impressive props, “It’s Magic” is an elegant ballet backed by a gigantic carousel horse.
- Aussie Bella Duo, Dani, and Sasha return to the stage for a suspended aerial pole dancing act to the music of “All You Need Is Love”. Their acute gymnastic awareness and the elegant shapes they create are set perfectly in time with the music.
- Master Magician, Sam Powers, is a wonderful addition to this very special evening. Having previously seen him in The Illusionists 2.0, I knew that audience members would be in for a treat. His ability to combine good looks, humour and charm, makes Powers that much more of a drawcard. The highlight of his jam-packed routine pays tribute to Harry Houdini, swapping places handcuffed inside a locked crate with his glamorous assistant.
Closing out the show, the entire cast return to the stage one last time for a Latin mix including “Bomboleo”, “Copacabana” and “I Go To Rio”.
Special mention must be made to not only the gorgeous costume changes (of which there are too many to count), but to the full-sized electronic backing display. Playing for the full duration of the show, this giant board added an extra animated element one would associate with the neon-lit bells and whistles of Vegas.
With the musical, Moulin Rouge, playing directly across the road on Collins Street, Club Vegas highlights the significant value placed on this kind of live entertainment. With audiences returning to venues in droves after two long years of lockdown, shows designed to lift our spirits are an absolute must.
It should be noted that Club Vegas – The Spectacle will also play at The Star – Gold Coast on Saturday October 14.