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LAS VEGAS ENTERTAINMENT 26

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FUN AND FANCY-FREE
TROUBLE-MAKING CLOWN IN MYSTRE ADDS EVEN MORE WHIMSY
TO BELOVED VEGAS PRODUCTION
By Heather Turk
Mystre by Cirque du Soleil celebrated its 20th anniversary in December 2013
and the exuberant production remains as youthful as ever thanks to its talented
cast which, ironically, includes the oldest performer in Cirque du Soleil.
At 81 years young, Brian Dewhurst adds
playfulness to the show every night as Brian
Le Petit. A former tightrope walker who
once held the Guinness record for skips on a
tightrope, Dewhurst took over the part of the
resident anarchist clown in Mystre in January
2000. Dewhurst had just lef the role of artistic
coordinator for O afer previously serving as the
artistic coordinator for Mystre and the Cirque
touring show Saltimbanco and initially agreed
to try out the part for a few months. More than
14 years later, he can still be seen stealing the
spotlight.
Te frst couple of months I almost copied
Wayne (Hronek, the previous clown), which I did
not enjoy, Dewhurst recalled. He was more of an
angry clownvery cynicalwhich didnt really
work for me. So slowly over the years I changed
the part. I just wanted to be loved.
He is loved. While Brian Le Petit may cause
trouble wherever he goes, audiences cant get
enough of Dewhursts memorable antics. Whether
hes posing as an usher during the pre-show
animation and leading unsuspecting ticket holders
on a wild-goose chase to fnd their seats or trying
to make his move on a female ticket holder during
the show afer locking up her signifcant other in a
box, Dewhurst always knows how to make people
laughor at least the majority of them.
I remember one time there was this Indian
family from England, and while I was walking
them around the theater one of them yelled,
Youre just doing this to us because were
Muslims! Dewhurst said with a laugh. Luckily
in situations like that I can just take the tickets,
throw them on the ground and run.
While audience members never know what
Dewhurst has planned for them, sometimes the
master of mischief is thrown a curveball that even
hes not quite prepared for.
People always ask me, Afer 14 years, how do you
Brian Dewhurst as Brian Le Petit
ENTERTAINMENT LAS VEGAS 27
keep things fresh? But thats the beautiful thing
about this role, its so unpredictable, Dewhurst
said. I never know who Im going to get, and
that gives things a little edge wondering whats
going to happen next. Tere have been plenty of
strange moments over the years, like once when
I gave this woman a candle to hold to make
the atmosphere during the box scene (when
Brian Le Petit woos a girl in the audience)
and realized she had no hands. You laugh
aferwards, but theres always that moment of
panic.
Although Brian Le Petit may be one of the
focal points of Mystre, part of the productions
charm, as Dewhurst pointed out, is that there
are no stars in the show.
What I love about Mystre is that no one act is
more important than another, he stated. Te
whole show is just so integrated. You can put
a great act in or take one out and it still runs
perfectly.
Like any Cirque show thats open, Mystre is
never really complete, even afer 20 years, he
explained. When youre the artistic director
(as the position is now called), youre constantly
looking at the show and tweaking things
moving things here, developing things more
there ... theres always work to do.
Dewhurst credits lasting success of Mystre with
many factors including standout performances
by the jaw-dropping acrobatics, the limber
Hand to Hand strong man act and the buoyant
Bungee trapeze number as well as the arena
where the show is presented.
Te showroom is almost this theater in the
round, so it creates this intimacy with the
public, Dewhurst stated. Even if youre sitting
in the back, youre closer to the stage than most
other theaters.
Given that Dewhurst, who was born into a
circus family, has been performing since he was
13, its only natural to wonder if the Cirque du
Soleil veteran plans on leaving the show that
helped revolutionize the Entertainment Capital
of the World anytime sooneven if its just to
join another Cirque production. But fans of
the lovable clown neednt worry, as Dewhurst
assured Sunseeker that his trouble-making days
as Brian Le Petit are far from over.
Mystre is my show and Id love to stay for as
long as I can, Dewhurst concluded. My family
comes to the show once or twice a year to give
me feedback and I always ask them if Im doing
okayIm told Im still good for another few
years.
Mystre performs Saturday to Wednesday at
7 and 9:30 p.m. only at Treasure Island. For
tickets, call 702.894.7722.
Brian Dewhurst performs
a magic trick as Brian Le Petit The Bungee act in Mystre
The Hand to Hand act in Mystre