As with most love affairs, the dalliance between Spiegelworld and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas started with fireworks. Or rather, a fire-eating burlesque dancer who stripped to a hard rock soundtrack while dragging flaming torches over her torso. Either way, it was hot.
The show producer behind the long-running "Absinthe" at Caesars Palace, Spiegelworld seemed like a perfect match for the irreverent, "right amount of wrong" casino resort when the pair opened "Vegas Nocturne" at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. together four years ago.
But the relationship wasn't built to last. The immersive supper club/theater/nightclub struggled to establish a clear identity and communicate its format to guests, and despite featuring some truly fabulous talent (Piff the Magic Dragon and the tap-dancing Scott twins), Spiegelworld's "Vegas Nocturne" variety show closed after just seven months on the Strip.
As divorces often do, the breakup turned messy. Spiegelworld filed a breach-of-contract suit against the casino, alleging the Cosmopolitan sabotaged its own show. Cosmo fired back with a countersuit, claiming it never wanted a separate production in the first place. In the end, both parties agreed to dismiss and retract the claims, parting ways amicably enough.
And you might think that's where the story of Spiegelworld and the Cosmopolitan ends. But you'd be wrong.
In some basic sense, the two companies have always shared common DNA. Both subverted Strip conventions when they opened in Las Vegas. Both built a brand identity on naughtiness and wit. Both targeted a younger, hipper Vegas visitor, the Cosmopolitan's "curious class" and anyone with a taste for the sock-puppet sex and wise-cracking showmen at "Absinthe."
And so, in a tale as old as time, the Cosmopolitan and Spiegelworld have flirted with rekindling their romance throughout the past four years. In 2016, the companies announced that "Absinthe" would leave its colorful spiegeltent at Caesars Palace to take up residency inside the Cosmopolitan, but a lawsuit from the show's coproducers blocked that move.
Now, the Strip's mischievous children are giving it another go with "Opium," a new Spiegelworld production scheduled to debut inside the showroom at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. on March 13.
What is "Opium?" That's still a bit unclear, but from the nonsensical video on the show's website, it appears to involve an Australian journalist and space.
"It's fast, funny and funky. It's completely off the planet," Spiegelworld said in a statement. "This is the show that Elon Musk will want to take to Mars. So, slip through the crack in the space/time continuum for a close encounter with a spaceship of fools."
Spiegelworld founder Ross Mollison puts the renewed partnership thusly: "We are very excited to be making a brand new show in Vegas, for Vegas, and we are thrilled to be returning to the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to create an intimate parlor of idiocy in the showroom at Rose. Rabbit. Lie."
I'm excited too. Because "Absinthe" remains one of my favorite shows on the Strip, because Rose. Rabbit. Lie. has always been bursting with potential and because I'm ready to see a fairytale ending for the love story of Spiegelworld and the Cosmopolitan.