A ragtag bunch of oversexed space travelers are en route to Las Vegas, whizzing through the final frontier aboard the OPM. Dressed in pleather, fanny packs and a truly exceptional array of shiny hot pants, they embody the future as imagined by the past — a '70s vision of a distant time when unlikely idiots will staff moon cruisers and women will impregnate obliging robots evolved from today's Roomba vacuum cleaners
Yup. Welcome to "Opium."
If "Opium," which opened in April inside the small Cosmopolitan theater that formerly housed "Vegas Nocturne," were produced by Cirque du Soleil, it might include meditations on shooting stars, gravity-
defying artists and anthropomorphized planets dance-clowning.
But this is the latest show from Spiegelworld, the production company behind the Strip's naughty circus darling "Absinthe," so, well, it's more hula hoops and nip slips than interpretive dance and engineering marvels.
That doesn't mean it's not fun. The OPM's crew members gives it their all, fully committed to the goofy gags and Uranus jokes best enjoyed after one of the theater's "Spocktails," drinks served as Jell-O shots, push-pops or in plastic bags.
Between all the slapstick, decked-out drag queen Dusty Moonboots stalks the crowd doing songs backed by a band, and variety show-style acts tied loosely to the whole intergalactic theme provide some moments of genuine amazement.
A hula-hooping Engineer Scottie is giving it all he’s got. Photo Credit: Erik Kabik
An "America's Got Talent" vet hand-balances while a well-trained chihuahua prances up and down his muscular frame. A scantily clad contortionist snakes around — and inside — a giant balloon. Engineer Scottie ricochets a steadily growing assortment of hula hoops around his rotund frame, smile plastered across his face as if keeping a half-dozen hoops circling his body is no effort at all. By the time he's hanging from the ceiling by one arm — hula hoops still spinning — the crowd is raucous. Then there's the sarcastic sword swallower, who devours blades, berates a volunteer and threatens projectile vomiting — to the audience's delight.
By the time "Opium" ends its campy spaceflight, the crowd inside the intimate Cosmopolitan showroom has laughed, cheered and cringed at the oddball antics of the OPM's crew.
In an era when Las Vegas' musicals and production shows have been closing to make way for resident musicians performing what are, essentially, elaborate concerts, "Opium" is a refreshing departure from Strip sameness. It's weird and raunchy, with moments of brilliance and (shudder) bananas. It feels like a risk for a Strip resort, and that's certainly a good thing. But maybe don't bring your mother.
Tickets for "Opium" start at $79. Visit www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com.