A man in a white suit sits down at a table and pours a green drink into a glass. Then he balances a special perforated spoon and a sugar cube across the rim. This small beverage preparation ritual foreshadows many balancing acts (and arguably altered reality) to come. Absinthe is the perfect entertainment cocktail for Sin City. It’s even got sin in the name. In a town saturated with Cirque du Soleil, Absinthe offers a foul-mouthed, intimate, less pretentious alternative.

Imagery: Gabe Ginsberg & Tom Donoghue

Imagery: Gabe Ginsberg & Tom Donoghue

Absinthe’s primary emcee and alleged financier is a man called The Gazillionaire. Imagine Sacha Baron Cohen with greased back hair and a potty mouth. No subject is safe from the Gazillionaire’s tongue (a double entendre). He and his co-emcee—Penny, on this occasion—tackle racist stereotypes, graphic sexual content and more. Melody Sweets, Absinthe’s green faerie personified as a burlesque dancing cabaret singer, injects a little vibrato into the mix. Between them, they narrate the transitions between high caliber circus performances that transpire on a small, hydraulic round stage mere feet from front row patrons. Or reenact graphic sexual fantasies involving foreign acrobats with sock puppets.

Spectacular circus acts make up the meat of Absinthe. Alexa and Ming perform a sensual aerial straps number that wouldn’t exist without the Spider-man kiss. An acrobalance foursome puts the human pyramid to shame. Sean and John usher tap dancing into the hip hop era. A tattooed hottie climbs into a giant bubble. There’s the Cirque sendup–and it’s a doozy. And a tight rope trio brings it home with some homoerotic wheelbarrowing.

Absinthe runs Wednesday through Sunday in a sideshow tent outside Caesar’s Palace. For further information and tickets, AbsintheVegas.com. Featured image courtesy Tom Donoghue.

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