Seventeen years, 9 million audience members and 8,000-plus performances later, the show that launched the Las Vegas juggernaut that is
Acrobats walk up and down poles as if gravity were a personal choice and not the law. Gymnasts fly and spin 40 feet above the stage. Two athletes who could have taken on Charles Atlas with both hands tied behind their backs perform a hand-and-body balancing act that requires years of specialized training.
The inhabitants of "Mystère" seem to have stepped off the canvasses at a surrealist art exhibit. There are the virus-like spermatos and spermatites who infect the world with folly. The dream-destroying black widow. Birds of prey who devour with delight. The comic chorus that laughs at humanity's pain.
The entertainment starts even before the curtain rises as a mischievous, wild-maned clown named Brian Le Petit leads unsuspecting audience members on wild-goose-chase searches for their seats.
The show broke new ground not only for the Toronto-based Cirque du Soleil (it was the company's first show with a permanent home) but for the entire circus world. A new type of circus had come to town, one that had less to do with elephant barrel rolls than theatricality and imagination.
"Mystère" takes place in the 1,600-seat Mystère Theater. Directed by Franco Dragone, it has been updated a number of times over the years.
-Anne Burke, Custom Publishing Writer