By Lawrence Specker
BILOXI, Mississippi — Throughout “Fata Morgana,” the new cirque-style show at Beau Rivage, a gigantic spherical metal cage, perhaps 15 to 20 feet in diameter, sits on stage.
The show’s biggest feat might be this: There will be many moments when you will completely forget it’s there.
Sometimes it’s covered, sometimes it’s in plain sight. Either way, it’s too big too overlook. There are moments when you won’t be able to take your eyes off it — when, for example, there are men on motorcycles whizzing around inside it. Yet the action around it is frequently so intense, so captivating, that the thing seems to disappear and reappear throughout the show.
According to the show’s creators at DreamCast Entertainment, the company that also brought the shows “Balagan” and “New Ezuru” to the Biloxi casino in the past, “Fata Morgana” is an Italian phrase meaning “mirage” or “optical illusion.”
It’s arguably a misnomer. The show isn’t about sleight-of-hand or the kind of illusion where a magician makes an elephant disappear. “Fata Morgana” is really about attention: Rolling out an act that piques your interest … then begins to surprise you … then astounds you.
For example, a juggler comes out with a few balls, or a dancer with a few hula hoops. You think: Oh, that’s nice. Then a moment later: Hey, wait a minute, did I really just see that? And then: Wow, how did they even imagine that, let alone do it?
Einstein would have liked this show. The participants seem to have a much better grasp than the rest of us on the laws of physics.
The cast serves up a variety of acts: “Fata Morgana” includes acrobats, aerialists, dancers and even a dash of knife-throwing, fire-eating and other sideshow specialties.
If the show has a weakness, it is that there’s no overarching story and there seems to be little to nothing in the way of a theme. Despite having an international cast, it’s not as flat-out exotic as some cirque shows — no contortionists, for example — and there are no animal acts.
Instead, it’s simply a series of acts that add up to a very brisk 90-minute run. Just as you overlook that giant metal globe, you’re likely to forget you’re wearing a watch.
“Fata Morgana” is no mirage. It’s a picture that likes to surprise the audience by climbing out if its frame. And, at times, by dragging the audience into the frame.
Much of this playfulness is orchestrated by Bello Nock, the everyman clown-acrobat-daredevil who fills the gaps between acts and sometimes takes a surprisingly substantial role within them.
Nock recently helped launch the show with a record-setting high-wire walk across the Beau Rivage property. That’s fitting: Throughout the show he walks a fine line as he lends his personality to the proceedings. Is he a clown or a ringleader? A star or a hapless wannabe? A friendly spirit or a troublemaker?
As with “Fata Morgana” itself, you might never figure him out. But you won’t be able to take your eyes off him.
IF YOU GO
“Fata Morgana,” a cirque-style show featuring Bello Nock, runs through Aug. 19 at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, 875 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi.
Showtimes are 7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, plus 3 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. There are no performances on Mondays.
Tickets are $9.95, $14.95 and $19.95 plus tax and service fees and available for purchase at the Beau Rivage Ticket Office, by phone at 888-566-7469 or online atBeauRivage.com. The also are available through Ticketmaster.
A family package of four tickets is available for $30. Advance reservations are required and package pricing is based on availability. Room packages also are available.
Source: Art of Illusion (http://www.al.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2012/07/art_of_illusion_–_fata_morgan.html)