Treasure Island's most dramatic move to re-brand itself as an adult playground vs. a family friendly one was unveiled Saturday night. Under the casino's new T.I. sign, the pirate show The Sirens of TI had its premiere.
Director and choreographer Kenny Ortega had his work cut out for him. The previous performance, Battle of Buccaneer Bay, ran for 10 years and was enjoyed by millions. It also was apparent that Ortega, who won two Emmys for 2002 Winter Olympics ceremonies, was working under unique challenges. He had to use the existing pirate ships with their built-in special effects; he had to create a sexually charged show that could be viewed by children; and he couldn't use the renamed Siren's Cove for dress rehearsals.
But even keeping all that in mind, Sirens is foundering and taking on water.
The story, and there's a lot of it in the 30-minute show, opens with a chunk of dialogue in which a narrator introduces the sirens and a cabin boy from the pirate ship who has snuck aboard. Eros, the cabin boy, is caught by Sin (short for Sinnamon) and her scantily clad band aboard The Song and held as bait to lure Capt. Mac and his crew.
The pirates sail into the cove, seeking their mate and shelter from an imagined storm. Sin and Mac throw taunts back and forth before the pirates lose patience and unleash their cannon. The sirens fire back, the pirates list, and the battle would seem to be over.
That is until the buccaneers swim to the sirens' ship, climb aboard andI'm not making this upform a chorus line and become the Solid Gold Pirates. A rave ensues with a swashbuckling DJ appearing high on the cliffs. A chandelier rises from the ship's deck so a pirate can dive from it into the water. Others fling themselves from gangplanks and masts for no reason.
Despite an orgy of fireworks at the conclusion, the crowd was silent except for a smattering of applause, undoubtedly from the performers' friends. The performers deserved it. Dancers can only work with what they're given, and its not their fault that the choreography is boring, or that all the action is far too small for a show in which the audience will often be across six lanes of traffic. Nor is it their fault that they are given dialogue that includes lines like, "Ahoy? Who you calling a hoy?"
Sirens is more than just a free show on The Strip. It's more than a "loss-leader" to get people into the casino. Sirens is the very public face of T.I.'s new image and vision. After Saturday, that face has more than an eye-patch on it.