Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil brings another incredible production to the Las Vegas Strip at Aria Resort & Casino. The show opened in November 2012, but was re-imagined in early 2014. Before Vegas, Zarkana was a touring production that performed at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Madrid Arena in Spain and Kremlin State Palace Theatre in Moscow.
To watch Zarkana is much like stepping into a Russian theater haunted by spastic ghosts who have invited acrobats onto their stage to entertain them.
Audiences that have seen the show in other locations will notice a more intimate viewing experience in Vegas. With about 1,800 seats, the theater at Aria has been the show's smallest venue.
The cast of about 70 performers portrays an eclectic collection of colorful eccentrics. Throughout the show, a small ensemble remains on stage, adding a playful element to the main acts as they perform incredible stunts from walking on the highwire while dodging a swinging pendulum ball of fire to soaring through the air on the flying trapeze.
Early on, the audience falls quiet when the Atherton twin brothers soar through the theater on aerial straps for an intimate performance.
A live band performs from stylized platforms located on each side of the stage. As the acts change so does the scenery. Multiple layers of LED screens create stunning visuals themed to each featured act.
One of these instances is when "snake lady" slinks from behind the curtain. Sprouting from a pile of coiled snakes, she's not alone on stage. Surrounding her are infinite serpents slithering across the massive LED screens that frame the stage.
In true Cirque form, the show also features a male clown duo that break up the show with laughs amidst the awe-inspiring moments on stage. Their comical gestures and sounds prompt laughs from the crowd. Later in the show they pull a woman from the audience to join them on stage to help demonstrate their electric chair. Let's just say, sparks fly.
Another highlight is when a spider woman descends from above the stage. Wearing a shiny, form-fitting, black suit, she sings while hanging upside down. Audiences will recognize her from the Zarkana posters displayed on the Strip. Her lyrics are the soundtrack for performers on the flying trapeze. Along with the spider woman, the stage is filled with layers of webs that allow just enough space for the trapeze artists to swing, flip and fly high above the stage.
A 15-person banquine team is the last featured act in the show. Consisting of men and women, the acrobatic performers are both each others' launching pads and their nets. The large male performers in the group act as human catapults, making the others airborne long enough to perform flips and other tricks before landing in a human net. They perform what you'd otherwise believe to be impossible, but breaking the boundaries between reality and imagination is what Zarkana is all about.