The first thing people notice about Circus Vargas is its big-top tent. Hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of cerulean-blue and sunshine-yellow fabric, the canopy, along with spotlights and saw-dust-covered floors, completed the illusion of an elegant lost era when used in the 2011 film Water for Elephants. The last thing people notice is the absence of animals. They're too busy gaping at a man balancing a 12-step ladder with his mouth.
Keeping its marvels strictly human, Circus Vargas builds on a 40-year history by blending classic feats of fearlessness with surprising new tricks. The show features magic tricks along with a skilled hand balancer, a speed juggler, and the wheel of destiny.
From its inception in the 1980s performance-art scene in New York, the Blue Man Group’s shows have evolved from impromptu sets in Central Park to stages across the world. The eponymous blue-skinned trio, described by the Chicago Tribune as “ever-curious, ever-hopeful, ever-restless,” remains unchanged by its more than two-decade tenure, still bewildered by the telescoping tubes of PVC piping it uses as instruments and the appreciative applause of the audience. But the group's shows are nothing if not timely, deftly posing questions about technology and stardom.
The spectacle is equal parts aural and visual, with live rock bands accompanying the men as they tap out rhythms on tangled snarls of pipe and flail wobbly poles covered in neon lights. Videos provide context for the speechless drummers, as well as a constant stream of wry humor. Evenings with the Blue Man Group build to a festive conclusion, bathing the audience in brilliant bursts of light and cheery floods of color-changing balloons.
When he first arrived in Las Vegas, Russian-trained juggler and clown Gregory Popovich incorporated his pet cat Snowbird into his act by chance, to overwhelming audience response. Inspired to expand the furry cast, Popovich headed to a local shelter where he was appalled at the number of abandoned pets. Now touring nationally with stops at Late Show with David Letterman and America’s Got Talent, Popovich leads a four-legged cast of 15 cats and 10 dogs, all former strays before becoming stars and, in some cases, internationally ranked poker players. Pups propel scooters across the stage and double-dutch jump rope as cats shimmy over parallel bars. European-style clowns and mesmerizing jugglers complement bouts of barking and meowing. And this season, the Pet Theater welcomes a new duo into the fold— a miniature horse and goat—who are certain to win audiences' hearts with their hoofed camaraderie and braying banter.