A new show from the twisted minds at Spiegelworld, the company behind “Absinthe,” has opened at Cosmopolitan. “Opium” is an imaginative, irreverent journey through a vast expanse of WTF.
We’ve got a metric ass-ton of adjectives still to come, but let’s cut to the chase about what “Opium” actually is.
At its core, “Opium” is a comedy-variety show. The good news it’s an exceptionally imaginative one.
We don’t entirely remember this sequence in “Opium,” but that could be related to the fact the theater’s signature drinks are delicious. Thanks to our pal Erik Kabik for all the production photos.
“Opium” is frothy and puerile and bizarre and psychedelic and LGBT-friendly and downright exuberant.
We warned you there would be more adjectives.
Perhaps we should put it this way: “Opium” is evidence weed is now legal in Las Vegas.
Subtle, “Opium” is not.
The basic premise of “Opium” (we’re fairly sure they named the show before they knew what it was going to be about) is that a crew of colorful characters is traveling on a spacecraft, the OPM 4.2, from Uranus to Las Vegas.
Yes, there are a lot of Uranus jokes. Maybe you should’ve taken a moment to look up the word “puerile.”
A lot of time and creativity have been devoted to fleshing out the characters in the show, and each has a distinct subplot which unfolds during the roughly 90-minute production.
The cast of “Opium” attacks the outlandish premise with verve and gusto. Fun fact: Verve and Gusto were a popular comedy team in the 1930s.
The characters include Captain Ann Tennille, Lt. Lou Tenant, Chip, Rob the Robot and (wait for it) Leslie. Somebody clearly ran out of steam with the Leslie thing, but the cast never seems to suffer the same fate. They’re universally comedically talented and seem genuinely enthusiastic about taking part in this new theatrical effort at Cosmopolitan.
Along with the larger-than-life characters, there’s a talented singer who drops in with random musical interludes throughout the show, presumably to provide a diversion from the comedy bits and variety performances.
Think Melody Sweets in “Absinthe,” but in drag.
If they give away an award for “Torch Singer With the Hairiest Back,” this guy’s a shoo-in.
Vegas Seven has a rundown of the cast of characters.
The humor in the show, 90 percent of which orbit around sexual organs, is non-stop.
“Opium” isn’t as edgy or caustic as “Absinthe,” but it manages to hit the sweet spot for Las Vegas visitors out for a night of inebriation and adolescent humor.
And while we’re on the subject, it should be noted one might want to avoid comparisons to “Absinthe.” While a common DNA between the shows is undeniable, “Opium” is more strange
“Opium” also exists on a much smaller scale than “Absinthe.” The mere fact “Opium” is in a theater with a low ceiling means it can’t have some of the more jaw-dropping variety acts that have made “Absinthe” a must-see show in Las Vegas.
“Opium” relies on well-performed, tried-and-true variety acts it can easily swap out with others if needed. You know the ones, they involve variety show classics like hula hoops, unicycles and objects being juggled.
Enjoy classic variety acts? Join the club.
While none of the acts were death-defying, some were stand-outs, like a balancing act with a trained Chihuaua. Then again, that could be because we are a dog person.
There was also a stunning woman wearing S&M garb dancing with, and inside, a giant balloon, a throwback to Angel Perrino’s tap dancing act in the early days of “Absinthe.” We asked for a photo, trust us. No luck.
A favorite of the evening was the sword swallower, Brett Loudermilk. Sword swallowing is standard variety act fodder, but the performer had top-notch material and delivered it
Yes, the sword swallower joke that springs to mind is exactly the one in the show. You should be in the entertainment business!
The biggest laughs of the evening were evoked by a couple who did alarming things with bananas.
Not the kind of alarming things you’re thinking of, perv. They basically bite off pieces of banana and spit them into each other’s mouths through the air. And they’re really good at it.
The duo also gets audience members to participate. Which is as hilarious and disturbing as it sounds.
Highly entertaining acts, to be sure, but we’re thinking if the show finds some success, a bigger budget will be available for variety acts with a similar wow factor to “Absinthe.” Which we’re still definitely not comparing “Opium” to, by the way.
The show’s producers have made it clear the show is still being developed, so we have no doubt the jokes are being punched up and other variety acts are up for consideration.
Hula Hoops were once banned in Japan because the hip movement was deemed indecent. Sort of a selling point for “Opium.”
Other items of note: The show’s five-piece band is top notch. One would expect nothing less in Las Vegas.
The psychedelic sci-fi costumes are eye-popping and ingenious. Nearly all are shimmery and intentionally too tight, which adds to the androgynous vibe of the production.
Leave it to Las Vegas to take banana hammocks to the next level.
Because we know how you are, we can confirm there is some toplessness in “Opium,” but it’s more for the sake of comedy than arousal. All due respect.
The show takes place in the Cosmo’s Opium Theater, adjacent to Rose. Rabbit. Lie. Find the box office at the top of the escalators above Vesper lounge.
A bar inside the theater offers a limited selection of liquor, as well as a signature drink menu themed to the show. Drinks include the Kiss My Asteroid, Gorgon’s Revenge, Sputnik Cage and the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.
The specialty cocktails are $18, which seems like a lot until you realize a Captain and diet at Vesper, served in a thimble, is $12. Live a little.
The Kiss My Asteroid cocktail. We do not recommend using Pop Rocks during your post-show intimate encounters unless you have excellent insurance. We are not kidding.
Ticket prices for “Opium” vary widely at the moment. The best deal we’ve found is a $35 ticket if you book using the promo code “MOON.” That discount should work for tickets through May 21, 2018.
Regular ticket prices are $79, with upgrades available at $99 (ringside), $119 (terrace) and $129 (Banana Zone, which isn’t really a thing, but you don’t know that).
Visit the official Cosmopolitan site to find out more.
Overall, “Opium” is a worthy genetic mutation of the highly-regarded “Absinthe” and a vast improvement over the previous Spiegelworld show at Cosmo, “Vegas Nocture.”
Shout-out to our favorite celestial phenomenon, the areola borealis.
“Opium” at Cosmopolitan checks most, if not all, the boxes to make for a successful Las Vegas show. Music, check. Levity, check. Visual acts you don’t have to understand English to enjoy, check.
Oh, and the occasional boob. Check. (Or boob check. See photo above.)
It’s time to gird your warp core, because “Opium” is a little bit “Galaxy Quest” and “Spaceballs,” a little bit “Absinthe,” a little bit drug trip and a whole lot of “When can we see it again?”