UPDATE 9/15/21 - It seems that iLuminate is in serious trouble. All performances have been canceled until October 14th.
UPDATE 9/12/21 - iLuminate's show schedule has been reduced from six nights a week down to four, effective immediately. Monday and Wednesday performances have been scrapped.
It's tough to write a review when you can't really understand what you've just seen. That's the case with iLuminate, a new show at The STRAT Hotel and Casino. Built around an electronically-enhanced dance troupe that rose to fame on America's Got Talent, iLumitate possesses enough wow factor to earn its residency on the Las Vegas Strip. Too bad the creators don't have enough faith in their own product to let the performers shine.
Presented inside the same showroom as MJ Live and XAVIER MORTIMER: The Dream Maker (see review here), iLuminate is a poorly-conceived misfire that should have been a home run. The show opens on a high note with a powerful number performed in the dark. Gorgeous colors, ever-changing shapes, and cracker-jack choreography dazzle the senses, preparing you for an incredible experience ahead. Then the emcees appear...and iLuminate crashes to Earth, rolls downhill, and plunges into a bottomless chasm.
iLuminate Opener STRAT
Matt and Heidi Brucker Morgan are the hosts of iLuminate. Self-proclaimed clowns, actors, hosts, and purveyors of chaos (misspelled as "choas" on their website), the couple introduce themselves and inform the audience that they're going to take us on a journey of "getting lit" through time. They subsequently unleash a torrent of sexual innuendo, drug jokes, shout-outs to day drinking, and references to Heidi's uterus that will have you scratching your head. Then things get REALLY weird.
Just about any iLuminate ticket buyer would rightly expect more high-tech wizardry and pumping rhythms for the second musical number. What you get instead is a young couple covered in prehistoric furs for a mating dance of Adam and Eve. I'm not shitting you. Watch the clip below:
Adam & Eve iLuminate
Imagine coming to see iLuminate because you loved the Tron-like dance troupe's incredible moves...but what you get instead is a musical interpretation of cave people trying to screw. Seriously, WTF? At this point, only ten or so minutes had transpired, but I was seriously considering grabbing my car keys and heading for the exit. Then Eden's proverbial serpent made a wonderful appearance, suggesting that a course correction was on its way and the show could be saved. Nope.....
Apparently, nothing significant happened throughout history between the Garden of Eden and the Can-Can era, because iLuminate's second stop is the Moulin Rouge in France. Then there's the free-loving '60s (more drug humor), some '90s boy band references, and a predictable yet crowd-pleasing Michael Jackson set. The most flubbed musical sequence involves a hip-hop medley, which unfortunately is destroyed by the incessant squawking of freestyle dancer Lisa L-Boogie Bauford. When you consider that the worst parts of iLuminate involve people using microphones, perhaps the cast should just shut up and dance.
Lisa L-Boogie iLuminate
It's truly a shame that such a wonderfully talented group as iLuminate has bungled their first opportunity to shine on the Las Vegas Strip. If you're a fan, I suggest getting to The STRAT right away. If last evening's anemic attendance is any indication, the lights are going to go out on iLuminate very quickly.
iLuminate performs Wednesday through Monday at 10 pm at The STRAT. Tickets start at $49 plus taxes and fees. Guests 13 years or older can attend but must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Click here to order.