Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana review

This is a review of the original Zarkana show at Aria. The show has been reworked. Please visit the Zarkana 2014 page for my review of the current show.


A few weeks ago I used a myVEGAS Reward to get a free ticket to Zarkana. Since the seat was a non-Premium myVEGAS Reward seat, it was in section 402 in the center of the balcony.  It did give a good vantage point to get the big picture, but it was surprisingly far from the stage. When I picked up my ticket I inquired about getting an upgrade due to my Mlife status, but was told that since it was a myVEGAS Reward, it could not be upgraded.

The show follows Zark, the ringmaster, as he brings his haunted circus back to life.
He has visions of his lost love throughout the show as well. That storyline wasn’t enough to connect the various acts. The show moves randomly from one activity to another.  Even though the show had toured internationally before moving to its home at Aria, it seemed like Cirque threw it together quickly.  The acrobats and performers are all extremely talented, but most of the acts also appear in other Cirque shows.  You have your jugglers, clowns, balance beam acts, acrobats, wheel of death, etc. The one act that did stand out, though, was the live sand painting act. The artist is onstage, using sand to quickly ‘paint’ highly detailed images. The paintings are projected above the stage so that the audience can get a good look at what the artist is doing.

About half of the audience seemed to enjoy it and a few more of us provided polite applause. If you have not seen a Cirque du Soleil show, this might be enjoyable for you since all of the acts will be new to you. I cannot recommend seeing it if you have seen any other Cirque du Soleil show, though. I would recommend seeing Mystere or Ka instead.

Performances are at 7pm and 9:30pm Friday through Tuesday (dark on Wednesday and Thursday).  The running time is about 90 minutes.
Ticket prices range from $69-$180.  Tickets are also available as myVEGAS Rewards and are occasionally available from Tix4Tonight.
My seat in the balcony was valued at $99. I would have been very disappointed if I had paid full price for it.

6 thoughts on “Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana review”

  1. Really? That bad, huh?

    I was considering getting two premium Zarkana tix with MyVegas Rewards Points. I’ve seen many Cirque du Soleil shows, LOVE being my favorite.

    Anyone have any recommendations on the best way to use your Rewards points? Seems like every deal has significantly decreased in value. It seems to have been reduced to a bunch of 2-for-1, tiny food credits, and 10/20% of midweek room rates.

    Any feedback is greatly appreciated 🙂

    1. I think show ticket comps are still a good deal. The Freeplay Rewards are nice as long as you are staying in that hotel. I’m disappointed that many of the dining Rewards have turned into style discounts where you have to spend at least twice as much as the Reward amount, but there are occasions like the Heritage Steak $30 off $60 that are still valuable. Some of the buffet Rewards are still good, too. Some of the buffet Rewards require you to be staying at an MGM Resort, but most also have another higher priced Reward option that doesn’t have that requirement.
      Have you looked at any of the non-Mlife Rewards like the House of Blues or the new Station Casinos Rewards? If you haven’t checked out Minus5, that could be another good way to use a few points.

  2. I felt “flat” after seeing this show. Although the perfromers are all talented, the only “different” ones here were the juggler and the sand painting. I saw “Ka'” two years ago and I’m beginning to believe “Once you’ve seen one Cirque du Soleil show, you’ve seen ’em all”. I will be seeing Ka’ again in 5 weeks (with my 11 year old son) using myVegas premium tickets.

  3. I completely agree with your review. I had premium seats from MyVegas (8th row, center). Although the seats were great, I could not recommend this show to anyone who has seen any other Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas. I would rank Zarkana at the bottom of the list (perhaps one click above Criss Angel Believe.)

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