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Performance Art: "La Femme" and "Zumanity"
Monday, 2004 November 8 - 10:20 pm
In my most recent trip to Las Vegas, I saw two shows: "La Femme" at the MGM Grand, and "Zumanity" at the New York New York. They made for an interesting contrast.

Both "La Femme" and "Zumanity" are unabashedly adult-oriented. "La Femme" bills itself as the "art of the nude", while "Zumanity" is the erotic offshoot of Cirque du Soleil. So clearly, anyone squeamish about nudity or sex should probably avoid both of these shows. But both shows are also genuinely artistic, and neither should be considered a mere peep show.

The similarities between the shows pretty much end there, though. "La Femme" seemed like a static picture book of women, lights, and patterns. We had a parade of very attractive, semi-nude women in various costume themes, with colored lights and other effects. But there seemed to be no point to it, and the initial novelty of it wore off quite quickly.

"Zumanity", on the other hand, was frequently captivating. The overt sexuality took a back seat to the amazing displays of acrobatics and gymnastics from the performers; and behind it all was a definite message for each scene. True to its circus roots, we also had clowns, both in the form of a comedy troupe as well as people engaging the audience in participatory routines. The comedy routines were entertaining, but the attempts to embarrass members of the audience were often tasteless and uncomfortable.

Still, "Zumanity" succeeds in showcasing the human form in a dramatic and interesting way. "La Femme", unfortunately, fails.

"La Femme" rating: 2 / 5
"Zumanity" rating: 4 / 5
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Posted by Ken in: reviewstheater

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