Saturday, July 01, 2006

Critics: True Spectacle for the Senses and Beatles' Fans

Critics: True Spectacle for the Senses and Beatles' Fans

Last night marked the official opening of The Beatles LOVE, Las Vegas' most-anticipated stage extravaganza of the year (unless you're counting the retooled, dramatically altered versions of Hairspray or Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular).

Proving that this was not just any mere world premiere event, even Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the surviving members of the all-time über-supergroup, along with wives of John Lennon and George Harrison, were on-hand as The Beatles LOVE met the critics who converged on Vegas from around the world.

With director Dominic Champagne at the helm, The Beatles LOVE is currently scheduled to play for the next ten years at The Mirage. And it looks like overall, the 90-minute spectacle has some LOVEly legs.

Among the most muted critiques I've found was Variety's Phil Gallo, who sees the spectacle as one that will ultimately be of more interest to The Beatles' fanbase (which is still quite considerable) than to fans of Cirque du Soleil. Gallo notes "LOVE is an uncommon Cirque show: slow without plodding, graceful yet never breathtaking, comforting in its marriage of movement and song. Its saving grace is the imaginatively assembled score of oft-altered Beatles recordings....It delivers the goods in the manner of the best Vegas shows: The senses are overloaded, spirits are high, and there's an urgency to spread the word. That is, if you're a Beatles fan."

Decidedly more upbeat is the Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones, stating, "One craves more messiness, more heart and above all more social and political context. But taken as a whole (music and all) LOVE is a remarkable achievement. Much of it is thrilling and brilliantly inventive."

Even more enthusiastic is Richard Corliss of Time who notes, "LOVE cannot reach the ecstatic kinetic heights of Ka, Cirque's martial arts show, or O, its water ballet. But it does no disservice to the new production to say that it's a Beatles show every bit as much as a Cirque show. The music still enthralls; the visuals ornament it beguilingly. Champagne has come near to achieving the impossible: create a new nostalgia."

A clearly smitten Charles Spencer of London's Telegraph enthuses, "Everything that was bold and beautiful, fresh and funny, sad and just plain silly about the Beatles comes together in this ravishing and almost indecently spectacular show....But for those of us who grew up with the Beatles -- and the first record I ever bought was 'She Loves You,' aged eight, in 1963 -- this latest piece from Cirque du Soleil is also overpoweringly moving. For it achieves the apparently impossible, allowing you to hear the Beatles with fresh ears."

For The Mirage, which had previously counted on the talents of old-school Siegfried and Roy to attract audiences to its famous property on the Vegas Strip, it looks as though it's not just an apparition: they've really struck gold with its new $150 million production.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil Opens in Vegas Tonight (June 30, 2006)

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