(photo credit: ELLA OZEN)
Already in its eleventh year, the WOW show, an entertainment extravaganza at Eilat’s Isrotel Royal Garden Hotel Theater, is a treat truly appropriate for families. Filled with colors, lights, a Cirque Du Soleil atmosphere and a sprinkling of Vegas glitz, the show succeeds in eliciting a constant stream of “wows” from audiences.
Similar to the previous success of a series of Las Vegas-style shows, WOW features international artists in an array of dancing, athletic, and aerial acrobatic performances.
The stunning 3-D animation that frames the show is just as impressive as the various acts that put WOW on par with the best variety shows around the world.
Directed by Hanoch Rosen and designed by the Tevet production company, the show aims to put Israel’s southern port town on the map as a place for international entertainers to perform all year round.
Constantly looking to raise the bar, Rosen – a legend of the Israeli pantomime and film scene – is always adding more twists to the show’s plot, bringing in new and exciting talent while gauging the audience’s reception to the various acts.
The show’s producer, Doron Etzion, admits that it is difficult to bring acts to Israel, but he is confident that WOW is slowly building up a reputation among international performers. He believes the good conditions and benefits offered to those that join the show – i.e., living in the hotel – will mean that recruiting new acts will become easier as the show grows in popularity.
Getting vacationers and Eilatians to fill the 630-seat auditorium does not seem to be a problem, says Etzion. On the Wednesday night that I attended, the theater was filled to capacity, proving that visitors to Eilat are in great need of some nighttime entertainment outside of the obligatory stroll along the town’s beach promenade.
Seconds into the show, audiences are transported into a world of wonder and weirdness, as the disembodied legs of a woman and a headless man make their way across the stage.
Then there are dance numbers. Combining the show style of Las Vegas with the energy of a Broadway musical, the performance consisted of costumed characters and singing divas, leaving very little time for the eye to stray from the stage.
Most of the action revolved around the residents of an apartment building.
In true Cabaret style, WOW features a variety of unique performances including Kata Keyes, a Hungarian-born gymnast whose prowess with a hula-hoop will leave your jaw on the floor. Keyes shakes and shimmies just about every part of her anatomy in a frenetic five-minute act in which she twirls not one, not two, not five but up to 50 hula-hoops at one time.
Another highlight is the comedic slackwire act by Russian wire performer Oktay Novruzov, who not only enacts feats of agility and skill on the wire, but also conducts the orchestra at the same time.
Between acts, this hilarious “maestro,” along with his brother Telman, perform a classic vaudevillian series of sketches, updated for a modern audience.
Partners in life as well as onstage, Hungarian husband and wife team Agnes Nemeth and Roland Dittmar present a comical number entitled “Mr. and Mrs. Dittmar.” This is a rather curious love story about a man who is only slightly over 1.6m tall and a woman who is over two meters tall. Roland began working as an acrobat in the circus at the age of 14. Agnes used to be a basketball player up until 2000, when she and Roland started working together in circuses all over the world.
By the time the show concludes and characters take their final bows in front of a red curtain, the audience has been won over.
Not only was the show a success, the skill of each and every participant was remarkable.
Compared to similar shows around the world, WOW is remarkably affordable: NIS 95 for guests of Isrotel hotels and NIS 120 for the general public.For more info on WOW visit www.isrotel.co.il/wow