Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil brings another incredible production to the Las Vegas Strip at Aria Resort & Casino. The show opened in November 2012, but was re-imagined in early 2014. Before Vegas, Zarkana was a touring production that performed at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Madrid Arena in Spain and Kremlin State Palace Theatre in Moscow.To watch Zarkana is much like stepping into a Russian theater haunted by spastic ghosts who have invited acrobats onto their stage to entertain them.Audiences that have seen the show in other locations will notice a more intimate viewing experience in Vegas. With about 1,800 seats, the theater at Aria has been the show's smallest venue.The cast of about 70 performers portrays an eclectic collection of colorful eccentrics. Throughout the show, a small ensemble remains on stage, adding a playful element to the main acts as they perform incredible stunts from walking on the highwire while dodging a swinging pendulum ball of fire to soaring through the air on the flying trapeze.Early on, the audience falls quiet when the Atherton twin brothers soar through the theater on aerial straps for an intimate performance.A live band performs from stylized platforms located on each side of the stage. As the acts change so does the scenery. Multiple layers of LED screens create stunning visuals themed to each featured act.One of these instances is when "snake lady" slinks from behind the curtain. Sprouting from a pile of coiled snakes, she's not alone on stage. Surrounding her are infinite serpents slithering across the massive LED screens that frame the stage.In true Cirque form, the show also features a male clown duo that break up the show with laughs amidst the awe-inspiring moments on stage. Their comical gestures and sounds prompt laughs from the crowd. Later in the show they pull a woman from the audience to join them on stage to help demonstrate their electric chair. Let's just say, sparks fly.Another highlight is when a spider woman descends from above the stage. Wearing a shiny, form-fitting, black suit, she sings while hanging upside down. Audiences will recognize her from the Zarkana posters displayed on the Strip. Her lyrics are the soundtrack for performers on the flying trapeze. Along with the spider woman, the stage is filled with layers of webs that allow just enough space for the trapeze artists to swing, flip and fly high above the stage.A 15-person banquine team is the last featured act in the show. Consisting of men and women, the acrobatic performers are both each others' launching pads and their nets. The large male performers in the group act as human catapults, making the others airborne long enough to perform flips and other tricks before landing in a human net. They perform what you'd otherwise believe to be impossible, but breaking the boundaries between reality and imagination is what Zarkana is all about.
Shania Twain's show at Caesars Palace is a welcome return for fans of the woman who is one of the biggest stars in country pop music.Twain's 1997 album "Come On Over" skyrocketed the singer to worldwide fame. The album became the best-selling album of all time by a female musician and the best-selling country music album of all time. A five-time Grammy Award-winner, Twain has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide, including 50 million albums in the United States. She's the top-selling female country artist of all time and has multiplatinum album sales in 32 countries.Her production at the Colosseum is called Shania: Still the One and she definitely proves she still has that special something that first made her famous.After being away from performing so long it's only fitting that Twain make a big, splashy entrance at the beginning of her show and she succeeds by flying in above the stage on a motorcycle in a sparkling cat suit before launching into "I'm Gonna Getcha Good," the first of many of the hit songs she performs throughout the night.Fans will be delighted to hear all of Twain's familiar tunes during the course of the show like "Don't be Stupid," "You Win My Love," "Whose Bed Have your Boots Been Under?" and "Up!"The stage transforms several times during the show and the next segment features a very country feel with a saloon set and the performers dressed in Old West-style costumes. Performers include a live band with several fiddle players, four energetic male dancers and three backup singers, including Twain's sister Carrie Ann Brown and RyanDan, a Canadian musical, songwriting and producing duo, consisting of identical twins Ryan and Dan Kowarsky.The mood changes to a more rock/pop style and so does Twain's costume -- to a leopard-print outfit similar to the one she wore in the video for "That Don't Impress Me Much." She sings that song, as well as other favorites like "Honey I'm Home" and "If You're not In it for Love (I'm Outta Here!)"Next, the stage is transformed into a campfire setting with a faux fire and a woodsy background on the Colosseum's massive screens. Twain brings a few lucky people up on stage from the audience to sit around the fire and sing acoustic songs. She talks about her favorite memories of singing as a child and with her family before performing a bit of music a capella with her backup singers.After a couple of tunes sung around the campfire, Twain sings a song that might be less familiar to people, but is the newest one she has recorded, "Today is Your Day."One of the biggest highlights of the show comes when she launches into her two huge hit ballads. She wears a flowing white gown and arrives on stage on the back of a beautiful white horse. The screens project birch trees and falling snow in the background as she sings "You're Still the One." The horse is led offstage and billowing white curtains descend as Twain sings "From This Moment On."The show ends with a bang with one of Twain's biggest hits, "Man, I Feel Like a Woman." Confetti is blasted out over the audience and S-H-A-N-I-A is spelled out in massive lights. Throughout the show Twain talks to the audience and clearly enjoys being back on stage. "I realize what I've been missing, thanks to you," she says. Judging by the multiple standing ovations the crowd gives her it's clear they have missed her too.-- By Kristine McKenzie