×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

De La Guarda

A theatrical equivalent of the X-treme sports phenomenon, "De La Guarda" consists primarily of bungee-bouncing performers and raucous, percussion-heavy, techno-pop accompaniment. The Argentinean troupe has landed in Las Vegas, the latest in a string of nonverbal, nonnarrative acts -- part vaudeville, part avant-garde -- to class up the performing arts in Sin City.

With:
With: David Bray, Carson Coulon, Collin Couvillion, Clare Elliott, James Garrett, Tanemahuta Gray, Ruthy Inchaustegui, Kim Kwaaitaal, Gwyneth Larsen, Marlyn Ortiz, Brian James Osborne, Gian Sessarego, Joanne Solomon, Carmen Tausend.

A theatrical equivalent of the X-treme sports phenomenon, “De La Guarda” consists primarily of bungee-bouncing performers and raucous, percussion-heavy, techno-pop accompaniment. The Argentinean troupe, a lasting sensation in New York, has landed in Las Vegas, the latest in a string of nonverbal, nonnarrative acts — part vaudeville, part avant-garde — to class up the performing arts in Sin City. While generating a good share of unconventional thrills in a running time just over an hour, the show confronts a significant marketing challenge if it hopes to settle into Las Vegas the way Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil have. “De La Guarda” doesn’t share the same broad appeal as those more easygoing entertainments.

Although it could definitely develop a mesmerized and committed fan base of teens and young adults, “De La Guarda” risks turning off the middle-aged, middle-America vacation crowd with its in-your-face, rave-like sensibility. It’s an exciting show, but it may prove too hip for the room, even at the carnival-esque Rio.

The show requires the audience to stand throughout, mostly with neck angled skyward. The opening sequence involves a creepily effective series of images created above a paper ceiling — we see human shadows scurrying back and forth as if they were giant cockroaches. Gradually, the images become more peaceful as the ceiling transforms into a starlit sky, which soon lets forth a mist.

Before long, the performers break through the paper heavens, descending on bungee chords into the audience, and even lifting a few willing members of the crowd into the air for brief bungee joy rides. Other performers wade through the (now moist) assembly, with looks of numb open-mindedness on their faces. They’re on a different planet, it seems, and yet they aren’t lost at all.

At various times, the performers reattach to their chords and bounce back up to the mezzanine level, which serves as home base for the musicians, led by an ethereal-voiced shirtless guy singer with dyed blonde hair and a few tattoos, and joined, especially on percussive instruments, by whatever performers aren’t circling the arena overhead or forming elaborate group hugs as they lower themselves again into the crowd below, encouraging everyone to jump up and down.

While the physical stunts are visually stimulating, they’re not impressive in the same way as, say, Cirque du Soleil acrobatics. This is a show that relies much more on atmosphere and attitude than on derring-do, although it’s certainly possible that the performers make it all look a lot easier than it is.

The whole thing has an enveloping, trippy charm, reminiscent of a Grateful Dead show, or going back even further, a Living Theatre happening, although the show does have an aggressive energy that gives it a genuinely contemporary feel. There’s a sexiness to the proceedings as well, a raunchiness to the male and female members getting wet, flying around and entangling with each other.

Show reaches an artistic climax with a subdued sequence, where a performer falls with progressively greater force against a loosely hanging canvas wall, creating larger and larger ripples. It’s a simple but elegant effect, highly evocative and surprisingly beautiful.

Throughout the show, the music injects a consistent dynamism, grounding the unusual goings-on in steady, danceable rhythms. Even with a short running time, “De La Guarda” is a full-fledged experience, filled with so much adrenaline that it leaves the audience physically, and in some ways psychically, satiated.

De La Guarda

Rio; 200 capacity; $45

Production: LAS VEGAS - A Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller, David Binder, Arielle Tepper, Daryl Roth and Rio Casino Resort presentation of a one-act performance created by Pichon Baldinu, Diqui James. Directed by Baldinu, James.

Creative: Composer/musical director, Gaby Kerpel; sets/sound/costumes, De La Guarda (performance troupe); lighting, De La Guarda, Charles Trigueros. Opened Oct. 26, 2000. Reviewed Dec. 19. Running time: 1 HOUR, 5 MIN.

Cast: With: David Bray, Carson Coulon, Collin Couvillion, Clare Elliott, James Garrett, Tanemahuta Gray, Ruthy Inchaustegui, Kim Kwaaitaal, Gwyneth Larsen, Marlyn Ortiz, Brian James Osborne, Gian Sessarego, Joanne Solomon, Carmen Tausend.

More Legit

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Pat Gelbart Obit Dead

    Actress Pat Gelbart, Wife of 'MASH' Creator, Dies at 94

    Pat Gelbart, widow of late “MASH” creator Larry Gelbart, died surrounded by family at her home in Westwood, Calif. on Dec. 11. She was 94. Gelbart was born in Minneapolis, Minn. in 1928 as Marriam Patricia Murphy. When she met her husband, Gelbart was an actress, known for the 1947 musical “Good News,” in which [...]

  • To Kill a Mockingbird review

    Broadway Review: 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

    Against all odds, writer Aaron Sorkin and director Bartlett Sher have succeeded in crafting a stage-worthy adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic American novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The ever-likable Daniels, whose casting was genius, gives a strong and searching performance as Atticus Finch, the small-town Southern lawyer who epitomizes the ideal human qualities of goodness, [...]

  • Isabelle HuppertIsabelle Huppert Life Achievement Award,

    Isabelle Huppert, Chris Noth to Appear on Stage in 'The Mother'

    Isabelle Huppert will appear opposite Chris Noth in the Atlantic Theater Company’s production of “The Mother.” It marks the U.S. premiere of the show. “The Mother” was written by French playwright Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton. Huppert, an icon of European film, was Oscar-nominated for “Elle” and appears in the upcoming Focus Features [...]

  • Could Anyone Follow ‘Springsteen on Broadway’?

    Could Anyone Follow 'Springsteen on Broadway'? Here Are Five Things They'd Need (Guest Column)

    After 235-odd shows, with grosses in excess of $100 million, a Special Tony Award and a hotly anticipated Netflix special debuting Sunday, “Springsteen on Broadway” is an unprecedented Broadway blockbuster. As with any success in entertainment, the rush to replicate The Boss’ one-man show reportedly is under way, with a consortium led by Live Nation, CAA [...]

  • Clueless review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical

    How does a musical stage adaptation of Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film comedy of oblivious privileged teens, “Clueless,” play in the era of female empowerment and millennial engagement? True, the principal skills of lead teen Cher Horowitz are the superficial ones of mall shopping and makeovers. But her sweet spirit and independence, plus some added P.C. relevance, [...]

  • Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary,

    Ley Line Unveils Brian Wilson Documentary, 'Hugo Cabret' Musical

    Producers Tim Headington and Theresa Steele Page have unveiled Ley Line Entertainment with a Brian Wilson documentary and a “Hugo Cabret” musical in the works. Ley Line said it’s a content development, production, and financing company with projects spanning film, television, stage, and music. Headington financed and produced “The Young Victoria,” “Argo,” “Hugo,” and “World [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content