A sexy, immersive show hailing from Las Vegas has made its way east!
Spiegelworld, which is known for its all-senses-overloaded, adult circus shows and culinary experiences, opened in Atlantic City late last month, bringing adult comedy, “sizzling” acrobats and variety performers from around the world to Jersey.
Dubbed “The Hook,” the show will go on every week at the newly renovated 1929 Warner Theatre right on the Atlantic City Boardwalk (the oldest and longest in the world), with “rousing comedy, dramatic hijinks, and exuberant spectacles,” according to reps.
“It will be the most beautiful bespoke show in so many ways because we are building the venue and the show at the same time,” said London-based director Cal McCrystal. “Like all my shows, it will be breathtaking acrobatics, magnificent physiques on display, and powerful comedy. That’s the idea.”
McCrystal has a background in clowning and theater, directing physical comedy. Most recently, he directed the 2022 West End smash-hit pantomime Mother Goose starring Sir Ian McKellan and One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Corden. He also works as a comedy consultant for the film industry with credits including The Dictator, The World’s End, Man Up, The Nice Guys, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Paddington 1 and 2. He has previously directed for Spiegelworld with OPM, and Atomic Saloon Show which debuted at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019 before transferring to Las Vegas.
I took a behind-the-scenes tour of the space with McCrystal in June before it officially opened on June 30, and I got to see the historic theater’s new look, which includes detailed murals of past Spiegelworld shows around the mezzanine by Mark Ogge, a gorgeous sea creature-themed proscenium arch, new velvet seating and more.
We entered from the Boardwalk into a horse-racing and arcade-themed “dive” bar called Cheval De Plongée that opens to the ocean behind the box office (it’s also possible to enter from Wild Wild West at Caesar’s). From there, we made our way through a darkened hallway made to look like a bowling alley lane (calling back to what the building was used for at one point) with glow-in-the-dark carpeting, wooden slats and the sound of bowling balls falling. This space is meant to be a sort of “spiritual car wash,” according to McCrystal. “You wash all the casinos, beach and boardwalk off you,” he explained.
The 400-seat theater, accessed through a draped doorway, has another bar (“Our show is best enjoyed with a drink in hand,” McCrystal says) and a revolving stage that also lifts into the air. When we entered, an aerialist hanging by her hair was spinning around in circles. Tony Award-winning scenic designer Christine Jones and scenic designer Brett J. Banakis (Broadway’s American Idiot and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and associate scenic designer Matthew Buttrey are behind the theater’s luxe-vintage aesthetics.
Choreography and acrobatic design are headed by Spiegelworld’s resident creative-performance directors in Las Vegas, André Kasten and Leah Moyer. Their work can be seen on some of Las Vegas’s most prestigious stages including Spiegelworld’s three Las Vegas shows, Absinthe, OPM, and Atomic Saloon Show, in addition to Cirque du Soleil’s Mystère at Treasure Island and The Beatles LOVE at The Mirage.
What makes Spiegelworld even cooler is that its restaurant is hidden behind the stage! We entered through a door on the side of the stage marked “Office” and found ourselves in a multi-dining room Italian restaurant called Superfrico. Its decor keeps its backstage vibe in place by using old theater backdrops and props across the dining rooms, which include a dressing room and a prop room that performers will walk through on their way to their spots. There’s also an aviary-themed room and an all-vinyl DJ booth made from an old jukebox.
“This place is crazy … I wanted it to feel like a house party restaurant,” McCrystal says.
McCrystal is a funny guy, but he takes dining seriously. The menu is actually made with ingredients sourced from Italy, and its pasta is made fresh every day. There is even tableside mozzarella—a cart pulls up to tables and a staff member makes it for you right there.
There’s no doubt Spiegelworld is more than enough of a lure to Atlantic City, especially for those looking for something new, memorable and off-the-beaten-path.
Spiegelworld “The Hook” shows are on Wednesday – Sunday, at 7 and 9pm. Tickets start at $60.