Magic isn’t easy in this digital information age. The most talented magician’s most grand illusion can and will be picked apart after the show, analyzed and Googled until we know how the trick was done, shrewdly removing all the fun and fantasy from the process. The uphill struggle of entertaining one’s audience is getting steeper all the time.
Accordingly, bringing a new magic show to the Las Vegas Strip requires a different spin or a unique edge. “Inferno,” which opened this month at the Paris Theater and is accurately described as “a gasoline-soaked spectacular,” has a pretty obvious focus. Swedish illusionist Joe Labero is more anchor than star in this show, as the actually dazzling pyrotechnics are numerous and impressive. The production alternates between Labero’s classic illusions — which he performs deftly and almost casually, speaking to the audience warmly with a thick accent along the way — and the flaming stunts of the Fuel Girls, a troupe that recently toured Europe with punk rockers Fall Out Boy. They make use of every inch of the stage, dancing and displaying dangerously impressive props like swords and whips engulfed in flames. If you’re sitting in the first dozen rows, be prepared to feel some serious heat during the show’s fiery finale when sparks literally fly.
“Inferno” has a couple of scene-stealers on the loose. Ronnie Nilsson portrays a Quasimodo-like character named Animal, a funny-creepy guy who might be a little too fond of all that gasoline. He takes a bath in the stuff, submerging himself in a tub that the Fuel Girls decide to set ablaze. Later, he twirls two flaming discs attached to chains in a dexterous act that feels pretty risky. And the aerialist among the Fuel Girls, the tattooed Teta Stone, is mesmerizing whether she’s taking to the air in a fiery hoop or performing pointe ballet while twirling the skeletal frame of an umbrella. Yes, the umbrella is on fire.
Everyone onstage offers appropriately over-the-top performances that ultimately create a different kind of magic show. And that, of course, is the point.
“Inferno: The Fire Spectacular” is performed at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday inside the Paris Theater at Paris Las Vegas (3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 855-234-7469) and ticket information can be found at caesars.com.