Photo Courtesy of www.CirqueDuSoleil.com
Housed at The Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, “LOVE,” a Cirque du Soleil show, creates a magical world where people defy gravity, space and reality.
“LOVE” succeeds at the almost unimaginable task of recreating the most famous songs of The Beatles.
Fantasy mixes with reality in “LOVE” as pictures and the voices of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are spliced between innovative choreography, sets and storylines. The four band members are re-created in silhouettes playing music and having conversations throughout the show.
The product of a friendship between George Harrison and Cirque du Soleil founder, Guy LalibertÃ©, “LOVE,” sees many elements of The Beatles’ songs appear onstage during the course of the show. “Sgt. Pepper,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “Lady Madonna” are all brought to life along with the classics of the band’s entire catalog.
More than 6,000 speakers, including pairs built into the front and back of every seat, provide a multi-sensory experience for the audience.
In one act, a lone breakdancer stands in the middle of the darkened stage, tormented by his desire for the four angelic women flying above him in “Something.” Psychedelic black and white outlines of women, channeling a James Bond film, dance across four screens illustrating the lyrics “something in the way she moves.”
An actual circus develops onstage, complete with monkey-boys and “test your strength” hammer games that catapult women into the rafters. As the music grows ominous, chaos erupts when the Ku Klux Klan appears onstage. A gigantic swing stands high above the stage with a trapezist turning upside down in sync with the hellish music.
The labyrinthine nature of the show, however, is its only downfall.
One moment a beautiful acrobat, in the part of “Lucy,” is soaring high above the audience surrounded by hundreds of twinkling lights. Within seconds, sparkling jellyfish and sea urchins fill the stage, illustrating the bottom of the sea in “Octopus’s Garden.” Characters reappear in between songs, leaving the audience puzzled about their identity and purpose.
The eccentricity of “LOVE,” though, is what makes it great. As Lennon’s voice tells the audience to “turn off your mind, relax and float down stream,” the sheets from a bed onstage grow in length and finally envelop the entire audience in white fabric. Patterns and images are projected onto the sheets, while characters interact and walk among the audience.
The show is a Red Bull for the senses.
With telephone booths and skateboard ramps rising from under the stage, acrobats dangling from the rafters and numerous dancers, actors and sets onstage, there are simply too many things to take in.
Sir George Martin, longtime producer of The Beatles, and his son, Giles Martin, mixed a revamped soundtrack for the show. Pulling from all of the band’s recordings after 1962, The Beatles’ classics have new turns to match the twists of the acrobats.
Drum beats are transferred from one track to the next. Lyrics from “Helter Skelter” fade into “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” and previously unreleased demo versions of songs such as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” add new depth to a familiar tune.
From start to finish, the show is breathtaking. Acrobats move in ways that seem superhuman, complementing the unearthly imagination that thinks up these storylines and movements. Above all, however, the show flaunts the extraordinary creativity of The Beatles.
As the show draws to a close, the entire cast fills the stage singing “All You Need is Love” and after a show as inspired and mind-blowing as “LOVE” is, it’s easy to agree.