102110 Cirque du Soleil: KÀ/The Price Is Right Live, Las Vegas, NV

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Ah, Vegas!  

There’s nothing like a desert wakeup up in a vanilla-scented hotel room with nothing to do but sip frosty drinks and bask in the sun along the cement playground that is the Las Vegas strip.  Bored with the casinos, on the morning of October 21st, 2010 m’lady and I ordered some drinks and joined the long line that stretches out in front of The Flamingo every morning waiting for the discounted show tickets to get released at 11am.  Twenty minutes of sunning, sipping, and watching crazy-Vegas from our shaded spot on the sidewalk and we had our day booked at a bargain, starting with The Price Is Right Live at Bally’s.

We got our yellow price-tag nametags – just like on the TV show – and took our seats in the crowded theatre.  Again, just like on the TV show there were rabid fans everywhere, jumping up and down with giddy excitement, wearing their homemade t-shirts and praying they’d get called to “come on down”.

The show was set up almost identical to the TV program except the prizes were worth about a tenth of those given away on television and the contestant’s row was completely refreshed for every segment. So four new people would get called to the stage for every item up for bids instead of just one.

And wouldn’t you know it, m’lady got called down!  The item up for bidding was a Casio keyboard.  I knew in my heart that it cost about $199 but that’s a hard number to scream out from the audience so when m’lady looked back to the crowd for advice I held up two fingers and yelled like a madman “two hundred, two hundred!  Bid two hundred dollars!” just like the crazy screaming boyfriends do on TV.

I guess she didn’t hear me because she bid $275.  The actual retail price of the keyboard?  $199.

It’s too bad, her game would have been Cliffhanger…the one with that dude climbing up the mountain and yodelling.  She said she wouldn’t have guessed the prices right for that part either so she wouldn’t have won the refrigerator regardless.  She did get a free t-shirt as a consolation prize that turned out being way too big for her so I guess in the end it was I who was the real winner.  The rare time I wear the shirt people always ask me about it, thinking I was on the actual television show.

After TPIR we ate dinner and made our way to the MGM Grand for KÀ, one of Vegas’ permanent Cirque du Soleil shows.  We are both big fans of the franchise – we make a point of seeing every Cirque show we can – and these Vegas ones are especially good, partly because the theatres are custom-built around the shows.  This gives the producers much more latitude with their staging compared to the physical restrictions of putting on a show in one of their portable pop-up tents.

KÀ took full advantage of having it’s own theatre; this is certainly a show that couldn’t happen in a tent.  The main feature of the show was a large platform hovering over a pit at the front of the room that served as an active, rotating, tilting stage.  The hydraulic slab could be positioned from completely level with the ground to fully upright and everywhere in-between.  Actors and acrobats were climbing, sliding, and bouncing off of the morphing, moving wall, with many falling from the towering plateau into the fiery pit below.  It was awesome.

Of all the Cirque shows I’ve seen this one had the most discernible storyline, as we followed the lives of two princely siblings separated at birth and the many different adventures they encountered in their quest to return home.  Or something like that.  All I know is KÀ was the usual feast-for-the-senses that is trademark of all Cirque shows, but amped up even more.  Wild, fantastical creatures were plummeting from the ceiling and flying over our heads, crossbows pelted the stage as gravity pulled the players down the slanting monolith through a ker-plunk of arrows.  There was smoke, fire, dragons, and absolutely crazy acts of daring and danger.  

And a nice happy ending taboot.  M’lady and I agreed that to date this was about the best Cirque du Soleil show we had seen and like I say, we’ve seen a lot of them.

It makes me shudder to know that a year or two after this night one of the acrobats was killed during a performance of KÀ.  With all that flying about it seems the whole cast could potentially be in perilous danger at any time, with just a wire or two between safety and…However it happened, I’m sure it was horrible and immediate.  Fortunately on this night everyone made it through just fine, and safely entertained m’lady and I negotiated past the freaks along the Strip back to our room deep within The Flamingo.

Or as I like to call it, the Flaming O.

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