Magician/physical comedian rides a wave of internet popularity to new home at The STRAT...

What do you get when you combine the whimsy of Cirque du Soleil with the talents of a world-renowned magician? Well, for thousands of disappointed fans, the answer for years has been "Criss Angel - BeLIEve". That miserable trainwreck of a collaboration stunk up the Luxor pyramid in various forms for an entire decade. But now that Cirque has fulfilled its contract and Angel's overblown ego has been sent packing to Planet Hollywood, there's a better answer to that question. It's "Xavier Mortimer: The Dream Maker"

Adorable French native Xavier Mortimer has the distinction of being the only Cirque du Soleil alumnus to headline on the Vegas Strip. Known to TV audiences through Penn and Teller - Fool Us, Masters of Illusion and America's Got Talent, Mortimer has captured the imagination of audiences from coast to coast. His video illusions produced during the pandemic fostered a broad international fanbase with over ten million social media followers and two billion views.

Xavier Mortimer - Dream Maker LIVE AT STRAT Call to Action

There's no question that Mortimer's star is on the rise. From the small Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood to Bally's Magic Attic, it was only a matter of time before the impish entertainer commanded a bigger auditorium. The STRAT's lushly-renovated main showroom is an ideal venue for the all-ages magical adventure. Families who've enjoyed a day atop the towering Skypod will find "The Dream Maker" a wonderful way to wind down at the resort.

If you've seen Mortimer's previous production "Magical Dream", you'll notice that it's basically the same show. Staging, lights, and sound have been tweaked to take advantage of the large venue, and a few new moments will delight existing fans. At its core, "The Dream Maker" is a silly, unabashedly-romantic and fast-paced romp that goes for the heart as much as the funny bone. 

One of the things that makes "The Dream Maker" worthy of your time is that it eschews most of the tropes of familiar magic acts. The production is filled with unexpected illusions that you most likely haven't seen performed live. Sure, there's levitation and disappearing objects, but there's also interaction with shadows, mind-boggling instantaneous wardrobe changes, and an ongoing bit that involves a disembodied hand. Thankfully, there's very little talking and set-up, which tends to pad out other magic acts (Penn and Teller, we're looking at you). 

The threadbare storyline of "The Dream Maker" is Mortimer's chaste, romantic pursuit of "Belle" (Allie Sparks), a girl-next-door type who happens to be an acrobatic dancer. Armed with flowers, bubbles, musical instruments, and dazzling feats, Xavier lays on the charm to win over his leading lady. It's a winning formula that's been used in productions as varied as "Le Reve" and the aforementioned "BeLIEve". 

That's not to say that there aren't a few caveats in "The Dream Maker". The show could easily be trimmed by ten minutes without losing any of its punch, and gags tend to be repeated beyond their freshness date. Perhaps it's a cultural thing since it's well known that French humor doesn't always translate successfully to American audiences. 

Director/producer Alex Goude, a popular French entertainer/host, and fellow countryman Mortimer face similar challenges that sunk Goude's "Twisted Vegas" at Westgate a few years back. Here, the two seem to have struck a pretty fair balance, peppering their native style into the usual music and jokes. It's a recipe that goes down easily and just might convince you that magic can be cool without the overblown pretension.

"Xavieir Mortimer - The Dream Maker" performs Wednesday through Monday at 6 pm inside The STRAT Theater.  Vegas.com is currently offering seats starting at $32, available here

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