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Vegas’ new retro-variety spectacular ‘Opium’ achieves ‘escapist’ velocity

Vegas’ new retro-variety spectacular ‘Opium’ achieves ‘escapist’ velocity
Unicycle-based thrills from Opiums wacky cast. (Erik Kabik Photography)

Spiegelworld founder Ross Mollison, whose raunchy acrobatic spectacular "Absinthe" has been one of Las Vegas' hottest tickets since opening in 2011, wants everyone to know that his production company "isn't just doing the same thing down the Strip" with its new variety show "Opium," inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. That said, the production's charmingly wacky, retro space theme may have never come about if not for "Absinthe's" roaring success.

"About a year and a half ago, we were having a dinner party in L.A. with Elon Musk and some of the 'Absinthe' artists and I thought to myself, 'What if Elon said he needed some entertainment on his journey to Mars?'" Mollison recalled. "So, we started to build the show off of this concept."

Staged in the venue that formerly housed the ambitious but short-lived "Vegas Nocturne," "Opium's" retro-futuristic comedy variety is truly its own thing. Audiences step aboard a 262-seat "spaceship" traveling from Uranus to Las Vegas, where they're welcomed by an assortment of Mollison's "favorite artists from around the world." Examples: A very sassy sword swallower and a mustachioed unicycle-riding juggler. With a storyline that unfolds among the ship's … unique crew members, two of which end up falling in love and having a baby, and a live band covering spacey rock hits from the '70s and '80s, audiences are cheering and singing along by the time the hilarious production is over.

"People want a blowout, fun time when they come to Las Vegas," Mollison said. "The market has been dying for something like this. It's weird, it's wonderful, it's intimate — I truly think it's the most exciting new show to hit the Strip in years."

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-Heather Turk, Custom Publishing Writer