We’ll admit that when we first heard about “Panda” at The Palazzo, we were skeptical on an unprecedented scale.
Having seen it, though, we’re happy to report it’s a world-class show, with Vegas-sized spectacle and, perhaps more importantly, everybody, and we mean everybody, is kung fu fighting.
“Panda” is billed as the first-ever Chinese production to have a residency on The Strip. The Chinese government, and a Chinese investor, Hui Wang, are backing the show, so it’s a win-win proposition for The Palazzo.
In order for you to get the most out of “Panda,” we have two recommendations: One, have a couple of cocktails before you see it, and two, ignore the fact the show features people in panda suits. If you do those two things, you’re in for the time of your life.
“Panda” claims to have a story. But it’s sort of like the plots of Chinese martial arts movies. Irrelevant. Here goes, anyway: “Panda is the story of Long Long, a panda on a quest to rescue his Peacock Princess from the Demon Vulture, who has kidnapped her on their wedding day.”
The mind reels at the logistics of a panda and peacock on their wedding night, but like we said, irrelevant.
Thankfully, Long Long seeks help from an elderly kung fu expert, and a battle to save the princess ensues.
“Panda” is, above all, visually stunning. The set is a massive LED screen, providing a captivating background for the action onstage, as well as being one of the show’s most serious “wow” factors.
Here’s a peek a the show.
“Panda” is of the quality of any Cirque show in Las Vegas, and surpasses them in many ways, mainly thanks to a little dude who could fight off a legion of Demon Vultures all by himself.
When you see what this kid does, you will wonder why you wasted your childhood riding bikes and eating paint chips.
The performers are from the China National Acrobatic Troupe, Shaolin Monastery Kung Fu Monks Troupe and China Star Dance Troupe. These folks truly make the miraculous seem effortless, and each segment of the show brings new, often-heart-stopping surprises.
Thanks to Isaac Brekken at WireImage for the great show photos.
Beyond the visuals of this show, the music really drives home the action, creating emotion and drama throughout the performance.
As we said, the costumed panda characters are a distraction, but the acrobatics and martial arts are made all the more impressive because the performers are often doing them inside bulky costumes.
We would unabashedly recommend “Panda,” and can’t wait to see it again.
“Panda” plays Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at The Palazzo Theater. Tickets run $48-$128. For more information, visit the official site.