“Alibi Las Vegas,” a new entertainment offering in downtown Las Vegas, bills itself as a “show that isn’t a show.”
The truth is it’s that and more, a combination of walking tour, improv comedy show and scavenger hunt, featuring riddles, colorful characters and one of our favorite lunches in Las Vegas.
So, here’s the skinny on “Alibi,” without giving too much away, as the discovery is a big part of the fun.
Once you get your tickets for “Alibi,” you’re contacted by text and told where to show up on the day of your experience. (Yes, lots of Vegas activities and attractions describe themselves as “experiences,” but in the case of “Alibi,” it’s the most accurate word we can think of.) The show sort of begins with your text, because if you write back, there’s a human that answers, in character.
Our adventure started at the Downtown Container Park.
There’s no warm-up period, or formal introductions, you’re greeted by one of the show’s many characters, Cuddles the showgirl. Cuddles is played by actress and comedienne Sadia Carone, and she sets the tone for the exploits to come.
A couple of housecleaning items before we dive into “Alibi.” First, comfortable shoes are essential. This is a two-hour outing, and much of that time is spent walking.
Second, “Alibi” is family-friendly, which means your group of up to 10 could include children. While “Alibi” feels like it has a pub crawl element, you’re not really crawling pubs, but rather restaurants with bars. Grown-ups get cocktails along the way, and the children (unless they have very good fake IDs) don’t. More on the children aspect later.
So, Cuddles is the first of many characters in the story which unfolds during “Alibi.” All the people you’ll meet along the way are, to a person, talented improv performers, because while they have some scripted material they need to convey, much of the interactive part of the show is these performers winging it, and they do so with great skill. They’re funny, and seem to be able to cater to young and old alike.
The first stop in “Alibi” is the patio at Carson Kitchen.
The first snacks are doughnut holes from O Face Doughnuts, next door. Tasty stuff, and an unexpected treat. Adult participants begin and end their “Alibi Las Vegas” experience with a drink, specifically, a beer.
You never spend too much time in one place during “Alibi,” so before you know it, Cuddles bids farewell and you’re on your way.
At each step of the story, guests are given clues in various forms. They’re challenging, and the group puzzle-solving makes for a great bonding experience with your fellow “audience” members.
Figuring out the clues and following instructions is important, because one of the surprising things about “Alibi” is often your group is on its own. Characters set you up for your next task, but they don’t accompany you. If you get lost, you’re lost. In downtown Las Vegas. Sometimes in the dark.
Hey, you’re either up for an adventure or you’re not!
Assuming you follow directions, you’ll trek to and through Fremont Street Experience. We’re going to leave out the specifics of the characters you’ll encounter, because sometimes they blend into the environment, and that element of surprise is important to one’s enjoyment of “Alibi Las Vegas.”
The characters nudge guests along, and help with puzzles when necessary. As we said, the puzzles and clues are sometimes quite challenging. It helps if you know downtown, but it isn’t essential.
The laughs along the way are pretty much non-stop. Comedy is hard, but improv is harder. (We know. This blog used to perform improv at the Barbary Coast. Which was demolished. Possibly because this blog used to perform improv there.)
Our favorite joke of the day came from a character, slightly paranoid, who took our group into Neonopolis. He said, “I’m not crazy about being around lots of people. And if there’s one place downtown where you know you won’t find people, it’s Neonopolis.” Gold.
A highlight of “Alibi Las Vegas” is meeting the brains behind the heist in the “Alibi” storyline. The actor, Dennis DeVilbiss, doesn’t just inhabit the character of master criminal Mastermind, he lives and breathes it.
One of the reasons it’s a highlight of “Alibi” is you get to interact with Mastermind at Pizza Rock, our favorite pizza joint in Las Vegas. There, you get some of the restaurant’s amazing meatballs and a giant slice of pizza (cheese or pepperoni).
The “Alibi” experience weaves its way through downtown and wraps up at Gold Spike. You cover a lot of ground, although if you’re looking for a walking tour with actual information about downtown, this isn’t that. (“Alibi” describes itself as “10% tour.”)
“Alibi” is all about the fun of finding clues and figuring out puzzles, and you even get to take part in bribing the owner of an actual pawn shop. Good times.
At Gold Spike, you meet your final set of characters, and the story culminates in ways made all the more amusing by the fact you’re treated to another cocktail.
The Elvis impersonator in the final leg of “Alibi Las Vegas” is the show’s writer and director, Matt Donnelly. (The show program says another performer typically does the role of Elvis, so Donnelly may have been a temporary stand-in, but he did a stellar job.) For Vegas trivia buffs, it’s of note Donnelly is also one of the people behind two popular podcasts, Matt and Mattingly’s Ice Cream Social and Penn Jillette’s Penn’s Sunday School. “Alibi” was created and produced by Ivan Phillips.
Overall, “Alibi Las Vegas” is a refreshing entertainment twist in a town where Cirque and cheesy magic acts tend to rule showrooms on The Strip. There’s some cheese in “Alibi,” but it’s the ironic kind, our favorite.
“Alibi” has a “Hey, kids, let’s put on a show!” feel to it, opting for character-driven, interactive entertainment over a theater or slick production values. If you love downtown, as we do, it just adds to the enjoyment of “Alibi.”
If you’re looking for a change of pace, “Alibi” is definitely that. In a way, “Alibi” mirrors another trend, that of slot machine development. Players seem to be losing interest in traditional slot machines. They’re passive and repetitive. So, manufacturers are providing more entertainment in slot machines.
The same might be said of traditional shows on The Strip. Sitting down and watching something? Yawn. If you’ve seen one Cirque show, you’ve seen them all. And at a Cirque show, you don’t get doughnut holes.
No two “Alibi” shows are ever the same.
If the whole “Alibi” realm remains a little foggy, here’s a promotional video for the show that may, or may not, help clear things up.
Having kids along definitely changes the show. Kids tend to become the center of attention, and we suspect the performers have to change up their material (less raunch, less funny) based upon impressionable ears being in certain groups. The “Alibi” Web site says, “Alibi Las Vegas is for all ages, and additionally our skilled improv actors adjust their performance based on the group that is with them.” The bottom line here is “family-friendly” is good for selling tickets, but necessarily the the best when you’re out to have some grown-up fun. A more traditional pub crawl may be more to your liking.
Oh, and a great benefit for misanthropes who dread the interactive aspect of just about anything, the Web site assures, “You are free to engage with the actors as much as, or as little as you like! There will be no cheesy interactions, and no over-enthusiastic drama students. We promise!” We’d concur with that assessment. “Alibi” is participation-optional. Then again, why are you taking part in something described as “interactive” if you don’t intend to be?
One item to keep in mind if you do “Alibi,” which wasn’t communicated, is the show pays for your drinks, food and gratuities. There’s a temptation to tip the restaurant servers you encounter (because Vegas) but you’re covered.
Tickets for “Alibi Las Vegas” are $59 for adults, $29 for children. We suspect discounted tickets and 2-for-1 offers to crop up soon. Thanks to “Alibi” for hosting our visit.
At the moment, “Alibi Las Vegas” happens Saturdays only. The show schedule is a little funky, with groups departing at 11:20 a.m., 12:00 noon, 12:40 p.m., 1:20 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 2:40 p.m., 3:20 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Groups are limited to 10 people.
Visit the official Web site for more details about Alibi Las Vegas, and if you give it a go, let us know what you think.