Thursday, March 08, 2012

Cirque du Sorry: You Aint Nothing Like a Hound Dog! -- Viva Elvis to Fold After Only 2 Years on Sin City Chrome

Another Cirque du Soleil Flop
Too Much Saturation?

Was it just yesterday that I was hyperventilating over the failure of the Montreal Monster to conquer Macau, a little gambling mecca near Hong Kong under the control of China Central? Cirque's under-adored darling there, Zaia, is getting the boot after a three-and-a-half year haul, blamed on slack ticket sales.

Now here comes, down the Covington Shute, news that Viva Elvis, another anemic charmer at the ticket windows, will hang up its glitter guitars in August, to be replaced by Zarkana, the Radio City Music hall opus that, as reported by AP, "opened to mixed reviews in New York before moving onto Moscow and Madrid."

Zarkana will, as of the moment, continue working the New York gig at Radio City during the summers; the rest of the year it will install itself into the Aria Resort & Casino, home to the ailing Elvis.

Here's the shocker: I had no idea what a short run Viva Elvis will exit town with. I assumed maybe six years give or take. Way off, David! It opened on February 19, 2010. I'd term this one a colossal collapse for the Cirque juggernaut -- and did I love saying that, because I think this company, which specializes in the most advanced form of Hubris (aka: snotty snooty you-are-below-us arrogance), deserves to be rocked, rattled, and rolled off its puffy huffy perch. No, I am not praying for a total crash and burn; has anybody out there given Cirque more effusive praise where praise was arguably due than yours stupidly?

On the recent Pledge Break Society (PBS) Cirque du Soleil Vegas special, featuring segments from its Sin City offerings, I found the Elvis footage to be fluffy, corny, rather bland and hollow, but then again -- full disclosure -- I have never been an Elvis Fan. Viva Elvis, through a quick check, seems to have drawn adoring reviews, although the Los Angeles Times, respectfully concluded, this strained episode in merging acrobatics and pop music "never lets him [Elvis]step off the mystery train."

Since Cirque's Vegas extravaganzas are routinely projected to last for at least 10 years, this latest floporama must stand as a major embarrassment for the Cirque crowd -- that is, if they have it in themselves to even feel embarrassment. They are such masters at spin control, they may have immunized themselves against the pain of negative feedback --an emotion ordinary mortals suffer. I know, from having tried to reach them in past years, that they have the most clever way of turning criticism into what they term "your appreciation for."

Here, I suggest, is the Big Problem: Over-saturation. Guy Laliberte's insatiable appetite for global domination runs the risk of turning his product into such numbing redundancy that it may eventually taste as common and predictable as a Big Mack burger, or a bag of Ding Dongs.

McCirqus, anybody?

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