It won’t matter if the subway doors close on you as you’re trying to board the 6 train and an air conditioner drips liberally on your head from the fourth floor of an apartment as you walk down Broadway moments before a taxi blares it’s horn and speeds past you while you have the walk signal; the experience of going to a show like Absinthe reminds you just how much you love living in New York City.
Playing at Pier 17 of the South Street Seaport, Absinthe feels like a neon-colored adult carnival at the edge of the world. The East River glitters as it reflects the lights of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge , almost outshining the swirling multi-colored labyrinth of restaurants, shops, and bars you weave through before finding the show’s home through November 2nd, called the Spiegelworld tent.
The music is loud; the performers (singers, dancers, gymnasts, and comedians) are often clad in black and red top hats and fishnets. Walking into the Spiegelworld tent feels like entering another universe, one in which you sip your (predictably overpriced) cocktail and become enveloped in a hard rock, gothic circus full of beautiful people with beautiful voices and beautiful bodies, singing and spinning beautifully into oblivion.
The talent of these performers rivals those of Olympic gymnasts. Unless you frequent Cirque du Soleil, chances are that at Absinthe you will see people twist, turn, and fly before your eyes in ways you have never before seen live. Acts include a rhythmic gymnast with hoops, trapeze artists, a martial arts “popper” (a form of hip-hop dancing), a male strip and strength gymnast routine (which in this critic’s professional opinion was one of the hottest things she’s seen in a long time) and many more too fantastic to describe. There is also ample audience participation, including a head-spinning stunt (literally) that just happened to involve yours truly with a man and a woman in roller skates performing on a contraption that looks like a cross between a trampoline and a really big bongo drum. A word of advice—if you don’t want to be played with, don’t sit in the front row!
The hosts for this production of Absinthe, an R-rated, punk glam, stand-up duo adorned with glitter and leopard print named “Marc” and “Svetlana” provide preposterous comic relief in between each jaw-dropping act. With wonderful stage chemistry, they do tricks with bananas that would turn the Blue Men green, and give the show a grand finale that would make Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey twitch.
you remember that scene in Moulin Rouge, where Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman, and Co. sing the words, to the tune of “Galop Infernal (Can-Can)” by Jacques Offenbach, Spectacular spectacular / No words in the vernacular Can describe this great event / You’ll be dumb with wonderment…?
Well that pretty much sums up Absinthe. It is a stunning, hilarious, raunchy, and moving event that most likely will stay with you the rest of your life.
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