If you go to Vegas today there are lots of choices for entertainment after you have stuffed your face at the buffet and tried your luck on the slots. You might choose a headliner like Bette Midler or Cher, or a comedian like Jay Leno, Seinfeld, or Rita Rudner. If those aren’t your cup of tea you could take in a truncated Broadway show (often better than on Broadway) like Phantom of the Opera, or The Lion King. Then there is always the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur. More likely than not you might take in one of the many Cirque de Soleil shows like Mystere, The Beetles, Ka, or O or even the non-Cirque show and one of my favorites, Le Reve. These can all be good choices but sometimes the best shows are the smaller, less promoted shows like ICE: Direct from Russia at the Riviera.
ICE: Direct from Russia is based on the work of Sergey Ryshkoff of the Moscow Ice Circus. It has been adapted by Debra Brown, the choreographer behind Cirque de Soleil’s Mystere and O. What she has done is glitz up the act to meet Vegas expectations so you have lots of glitter, revealing costumes, derring-do, gorgeous skaters, and a mixed soundtrack of music by Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, and James Brown, among others. So ICE: Direct from Russia is a hybrid of Russian skating and clowning and Cirque know-how. Imagine all the kind of circus acts you might see in a Cirque show but done on skates. The show is dazzling and amazing. Because the Versailles theatre where this is performed is small, the show is really up close and personal, especially when the skaters take to the circular runway that juts out into the audience.
The skaters are all very skilled and have multiple skills whether it be tumbling, balancing, performing with props like rings or hula-hoops, or simply just dancing on skates. You sit in total enthrallment as the athletes perform these familiar circus acts but on skates. As to be expected the clowns are unique to this circus and have a dry Russian sensibility about them as they comment on the journey they all have taken from Moscow to the Vegas limelight. Check out ICE: Direct from Russia next time you are in Vegas. ICE: Direct from Russia performs in the Versailles Theatre at the Riviera Hotel and Casino.