From its opening in 1997 when it featured “Smokey Joe’s Café,” the Eldorado showroom became a destination, a jewel box of a theater that has featured a wide range of premiere performers – including ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov – all presented in a traditional proscenium setting. Now, after having been shuttered for six months, the showroom has reopened and guests will be startled by a very bold change.
Gone is the proscenium, gone are the front rows of seats, and now a long walkway thrusts toward the audience in a darkened atmosphere. The show is “Cirque Le Noir – the Dark Side of Cirque” and the performers are very much nigh. Indeed, tables are set up on three sides of the stage for theatergoers who opt for the “champagne seating, putting them even closer.” (Those patrons also are more likely to find themselves pulled up on the stage for some antics.)
The world of “cirque” productions has become well-known. Only newcomers to the shows are surprised to see acrobats soaring over them in a hoop, or hanging by a strap, or hand balancing, or twirling themselves around the stage in a wheel like a spun coin, or showing mastery of hula hoops, or filling time between acts with silly audience participation.
“Cirque Le Noir” has all that and more in a different setting with a different tone while adding some extras well worth a visit. For one, there is the close proximity to the performers who often enter the audience. For another, there is the masterful “rolla bolla” act by Geddy Pavlovicius who can balance not only on one pile of rolling tubes but on two, deftly and amazingly shifting from one to the other. And there is the delightful throwback performance of Dandino Garcia and Luciana Haser spinning at breakneck speed on roller skates.
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Ultimately, no matter how often specific acts are seen in cirque productions, it all boils down to the skills of those who perform them. This is a superb cast. (Indefinite engagement: 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 5:30 p.m. Sundays; $29.95-$59.95; eldoradoreno.com)
▪ There’s a stark contrast between two shows this weekend at Thunder Valley with Sebastian Maniscalco (whose new Showtime special is subtitled “Why Would You Do That?”) playing Friday, June 23 (8 p.m.; $42.95-$89.95; thundervalleyresort.com); and TLC’s reality star Teresa Caputo channeling her way into the beyond on Saturday, June 24 (7:30 p.m.; $59.95-$199.95).
▪ The Filipino band Aegis plays two concerts at Cache Creek – Friday, June 23 (9 p.m.) and Saturday, June 24 (8 p.m.) with their hits “Tears,” “Kisses,” and “Drenched in the Rain” ($39-$75; cachecreek.com).
▪ Check out The Kinsey Sicks, billed as “America’s favorite dragapella beauty-shop quartet” at the Loft in Heavenly Valley Village next to Harrah’s Tahoe, through Monday, June 26 (9 p.m.; $20-$45; TheLoftTahoe.com).
▪ And Harveys Tahoe kicks off its summer outdoor arena concerts in a big way Sunday, June 25 with “An Evening with Paul Simon.” Simon is an undeniable legend and continues to deliver with his live performances. (8 p.m.; $59.50-$139.50; ticketmaster.com or apeconcerts.com).