VEGAS LIVE is the Mayfield Dinner Theatre's 22nd holiday season review, so you figure it would have the formula down by now: two-plus hours of toe-tapping, non-stop song and dance; full of energy and even a little audience participation to entertain those celebrating the season with office staff or family and friends. Does VEGAS LIVE succeed at all the above? Of course, it does. It's the Mayfield and this is the holiday review. There's no gambling on a good time here: Audiences win Every. Single. Night.
The holiday review has come to Vegas before, and in other incarnations, theatre patrons were treated to dancing showgirls and music from the stars of old: the Rat Pack's Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin, Charo, etc. The nostalgia of old-time Vegas still holds, and there's a bit of a nod to the classic performers here too, albeit in a caricature of Vegas stalwart Wayne Newton--all stretchy-faced and zoned out and played for great laughs by longtime Mayfield performer Brad Wiebe. No, this really isn't your grandma's Vegas.
VEGAS LIVE highlights the Nevada hot spot of today, and might be reminiscent of the HANGOVER come to life, hints Mayfield Artistic Director Van Wilmott. There's Cher, Lady Gaga, Timberlake and Smokey Robinson to name a few; a cornucopia of country, pop, soul and edgy shenanigans navigated by emcees Melissa Macpherson and Nick Sheculski. And there's enough gender-bending, love-who-you-love fun stringing the show together, written by the prolific Will Marks (with Gerrard Everard) and largely served up by Macpherson (a talented chameleon of a performer and Mayfield veteran) that the show comes with an audience advisory for mature content. It's all in good fun, but you've been warned--it's called Sin City for a reason!
Co-director and choreographer Robin Calvert keeps the ensemble of four talented men and six dynamite women shaking and shimmying through a whirl of a two-and-a-half-hour review; costume and wig changes a'plenty accompany all the fine vocals, so there's more than enough for eyes and ears to take in. Special shout out to more Mayfield stalwarts, Pamela Gordon and Devra Straker for their amazing vocal numbers, which include inhabiting the likes of Lady Gaga and Cher. The iconic singers aren't easy to take on, but Gordon and Straker make it look easy. The Motown tribute featuring Jahlen Barnes and Trevor Coll is also a highlight, with the pair of excellent tenor voices shown to full effect. I dare you NOT to sing along.
There's a poignant moment in the show, which takes us out of Vegas and comes via a song and pictures remembering the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and pointing a finger at President Putin. Pamela Gordon, Larissa Poho and Melissa Macpherson create the moment which reminds that we're all inter-connected, Vegas and everywhere else in the world too.
The band is always exceptional at the Mayfield, and this one is (as it should be) front and centre for VEGAS LIVE. Hats off to longtime players Steve Hoy, Paul Lamoureux, Lisa MacDougall, Derek Stremel and Harley Symington for backing the cast but also creating much of the energy with fine musicianship. This Vegas review is a team effort from start to finish.
If you come to the Mayfield for a party this holiday season, the show and festive drinks will keep you in high spirits. But don't forget the famous Mayfield buffet, which features holiday classics like roast turkey and stuffing, parmesan mashed potatoes, prime rib and much more. Cap it off with an eggnog cheesecake, gingerbread bar with rum butter icing, or sticky toffee pudding--or all of them. It's a buffet! It's the holidays! Enjoy!
VEGAS LIVE runs through January 22, 2023, so there's lots of time to check it out. And if you like what you see, there's apparently a part two of VEGAS LIVE already in the works for next winter. See mayfieldtheatre.ca for tickets.