Wednesday, December 13, 2023


 On our first Vegas trip as a couple, I swung for the fences.

Determined to have a great time and convince her that her previous terrible Vegas experience decades prior was not the only way to do Vegas, I made sure to fill our days with fun and our nights with great entertainment.  On that trip, we saw Brilliant at the Neon Museum, Fantasy, the Beatles Love, and finished off our final evening at Absinthe.  It was wildly successful. The problem is, where do you go there?

You can have the top half.
Out of all our Vegas show experiences, we loved Absinthe the most. It was - and remains - a perfect Vegas mix of sequins and trash, of sexy and vulgar, of talent and spectacle.  So when I booked our second trip for early 2019, we opted to check out Spiegelworld's newest show, Opium. At that time, I can honestly say that I didn’t love it. Opium paled in comparison to its big sister Absinthe.  Later that same year, I saw Atomic Saloon shortly after it opened. I felt that Atomic Saloon was a strong, close 2nd to Absinthe, while Opium was a distant third.  We recently all went to see Opium together, and I was curious to see how the show evolved in the 4 ½ years since.

First, a history lesson: OPM (the show was retitled in 2021, probably to get around advertising restrictions) is the second “permanent” show created by Spiegelworld for Las Vegas after the wildly successful Absinthe. It opened in March, 2018 at the Cosmopolitan where it has remained until its closure at the end of this year.

Flingin' rings.

OPM follows the variety show format that Spiegelworld developed with Absinthe.  The various acts you see don’t necessarily have a common thread, they are just loosely linked together, sometimes simply by a few words for a host or emcee. This is less-so in Atomic Saloon, which does make an effort to tie the various acts into the story; but as with all Spiegelworld productions those who attend looking for a compelling narrative will be disappointed. Spiegelworld’s strength is curation: the assembly of the fantastic, the weird, and the incredibly talented into a show that will simultaneously amaze, arouse, and confuse you.  The way Spiegelworld designs their shows, they are also nearly impervious to personnel issues. Performers can take a night off, get sick, or simply move on to another gig, and the show won’t suffer because some other great act can simply be plugged into the show and no one will ever know the difference. What this also means is that the show we saw is not necessarily the show you will see.  I’ve seen Absinthe twice and OPM twice, and all four experiences were different.  Whether you catch OPM before it closes or one of the other fantastic Spiegelworld shows, I’m pretty sure that you will still have a great time regardless.

Andromeda is your hostess

Before I dive too much into OPM, I’ll say this: over the last several years, the show has improved. The quality of the various acts has stepped up a notch, and the too-absurd-to-care-about story-line has been abandoned.

Ever see a Cirque show or a magic show?  If you’re like me, sometimes when you’re watching the show your mind is reeling from all the amazing things you’re seeing, but after a while it becomes noise. Spiegelworld shows work well with my short attention span by continually switching up what I’m seeing, so mentally the entertainment never ends. In OPM, we saw a girl climb into a giant latex balloon, and two men turn giant throwing rings into spectacle. There was a pair of tumblers who terrified us as they launched each other towards the relatively low ceiling. Not everything works, though.   A girl in a straitjacket lip syncs psychotically to “No One” by Alicia Keys while writhing in an audience member’s lap, but the bit never seems to have a payoff.  A highlight for me was the “bubble-blowing guy,” who had the audience in the palm of his hands while making intricate creations with bubbles. It seems like a parlor trick, but I suggest finding YouTube videos of this act if you never catch OPM live.  All of this cements OPM as the most eclectic collection of talent in the Spiegelworld catalog.

Bubbles is back in town and he wants your number

OPM’s absence is Vegas’s loss, but fortunately you can catch the show before the end of the year. The show is dark on Mondays and Tuesdays, but is available twice a night at 7pm and 9pm every other night.  Tickets currently start at $72.  If you don’t get a chance to see OPM, rest easy knowing that the Spiegelworld magic is still available in other places on the strip in the form of Absinthe and the Atomic Saloon Show.