PANDA! A Letter by Letter Review

In Christine on The Scene by Christine McKellar

I was invited as another media person’s guest to attend the VIP two pandas and a personand media night Grand Opening of the Chinese theatrical production PANDA! at the Palazzo Theater. VOE is like the proverbial tree falling in the forest in this case and thus my voice won’t be heard by those in power, but I decided to write an abbreviated version of my take on the show with one of my usual “unusual” twists.  I wasn’t asked to attend as media so I have no obligation whatsoever other than a personal one to my readers to review this show. It’s not like I can thus be banned from a club I’m not a member of in the first place. So, here we go–

P is for performance- I felt the show was a bit Panda heavy in the intro leading some in the audience to whisper, “Is this a children’s show?” But, in this case P could also stand for “patience.”

A is for acrobatics – The troupe put on an incredible display of tumbling, swinging, leaping, high flying martial arts and feinting. I found the acrobatics in a few areas somewhat clumsy at times. Not sure if that was intentional or just opening glitches. 

N is  for nuance –Here’s the plot line:  LongLong the panda is on an adventurous quest to rescue his true love, the Peacockpandas on stage Princess, from the evil Demon Vulture who has kidnapped her on their wedding day. LongLong seeks counsel from the Immortal Old Man who prepares him for the dangerous task of saving his true love. It helps if you know the story line before you see the show.  Chinese and American nuances are there in abundance if you’re familiar with each culture.  (There is a 7-year-old authentic Shaolin kung fu student who comes to LongLong’s defense at one point who truly puts the “c” in cute!)

D is for dance- Now we’re talking!  The dancers are incredibly ethereal and graceful. They delicately complement the enchanting music.  The Princess is a perfect blend of athleticism and elegance. I would see the entire show again for the dance sequences in the middle and toward the end. The panda also proves he can get way down and boogie with the best of them.

 A is for accoutrements – This is where the show truly will mult screen stage backdropbeguile one and all. The ninja costumes are ornate and intricately detailed. The Princess and her dancers wear the sparkle and shimmer (and ornate headdresses) you expect to see on a Las Vegas stage. What so impressed me was the outstanding background graphics on the massive state-of-the-art multilayered LED wall: Another very good reason to see this visually spectacular show more than once.

PANDA! at The Palazzo Theater came to Vegas direct from Beijing. It’s directed by An Zhao and produced by a team whose credits include the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The cast features award-winning performers from the China National Acrobatic Troupe and the Shaolin Monastery Kung Fu Monks Troupe.

For tickets and more information, please visit: http://www.palazzo.com/Las-Vegas-Entertainment/Resident-Shows/Panda/ or call 702.414.9000.