Having created Mystere, O and Celine Dion’s New Day, Franco Dragone had a wide reservoir of inspiration to create his latest masterpiece in the fine art of escapism, Le Reve. As soon as the lights dim, you enter Le Reve (“The Dream”) or as Dragone describes it, “a small collection of imperfect dreams.” Pick your favorite superlatives for this show: surreal, mystical, visually stunning, and thrilling and flawless. All apply with equal gusto.
Though you want to evaluate the show on its own terms, that may be a fool’s errand given Le Reve has so many similarities to O and Mystere. But unlike the older Cirque du Soleil shows, Le Reve’s venue for storytelling is an aquatic theater-in-the-round that is far more immersive. A few statistics about this custom-made water theater immediately impress you. The water stage is 68 feet in diameter and its furthest seat is a scant 42 feet away. Every seat lets patrons see more detail in each costume, more facial expressions by the performers and everyone cricks their neck to see aerialists directly above them.
Le Reve did not begin with the rave reviews of today. In fact, it was rushed into production to match the opening date of the Wynn Hotel in April 2005, even though its profound artistry and technical wizardry needed time to ferment. Le Reve also had the disadvantage of being compared to two well-oiled shows down the Strip, O and Mystere. Predictably, early reviews for Le Reve suffered.
With 18 months of fermentation for this viewing, Le Reve succeeds from its beginning to end. Imagery evolving from dreamer’s bed bursts with suggestion and metaphor. Artistry varies from outlandishly bold to tastefully subtle, astutely executed at what always seems to be the right time. Multimedia effects and nefarious two and four-legged figures enhance rather than distract from the experience. The pitch-perfect high dives are stupendous and the sheer beauty of aquatic sequences in 1.1 million gallons of water matches the best of O. You’ll hold your breath wondering how the synchronized swimmers perform so long underwater.
The fire sequences and lighting effects burst with imagination and precision. These guys must really be sharp to get this show approved by the fire department. The music of Le Reve, though not as magical as the vocals in Mystere, is every bit as good as O, while being more technically sophisticated.
The director’s every whim or pardon the pun, every dream has been met by the Wynn, who to its’ credit, stuck with Le Reve through its growing pains. Considering the special venue and experience of Franco Dragone, most patrons who also see O and Mystere will love all three, but concede that Le Reve has a slight one-up in theatricality.
VENUE: The Wynn