PHUKET: There has to be an appropriate way of summing up the new live show that opened this week in Phuket's famous Soi Bangla. The one sentence that stuck and would not go away was: ''More exciting than a free night in a bar full of hookers.''
Just why we couldn't shake that thought is difficult to understand, but the route to the Danze Fantasy Theatre in Patong does offer up some different kinds of entertainment.
The Genesis show, which opened to the public on Wednesday night, is world-class and an absolute delight. As the media were treated to a free showing, it's not possible to make a judgement on the price of entry.
Deeply ingrained scepticism means we're not given to outbursts of excessive praise, but this show is magical and deserves to pack 'em in every night.
What a delight it is from the moment the comedy begins among the audience in the large theatre and moves on stage. There isn't a moment that didn't have the first-night crowd enthralled.
Joe Labero is the star and he is rightly billed as a ''grand illusionist.'' We have to say that it's an apt job description. He's so grand it's a surprise that Centara hasn't snapped him up.
Acrobatic comedy, superb juggling and a singing and dancing troupe keep the fun and the variety coming through a cleverly crafted show that either has the audience in stitches or on the edge of their seats in amazement.
The show opened with a producer's comment that Genesis is ''as good as anything in Las Vegas'' and we expected to find that statement flawed within the first 10 minutes. Almost 90 minutes later, we were clapping a fantastic show that proved to be totally flawless and constantly entertaining.
Soi Bangla will be an adventure, we are sure, for the performers. But when you think about it, there's nowhere better to be to attract an audience to fill houses in the low season as well as the high season.
There are some clever ideas at work to encourage a long run, too. After the second show (twice nightly, at 7.30pm and 9.30pm) the seats are cleared away and from 11pm until late, the place becomes the Rock Star Live Club, with a Swedish band doing its stuff.
From Wednesday to Sunday with Joe Labero in the show, the price is 1500 baht (1300 baht for children) while on Mondays and Tuesdays, without Joe Labero but with the show running for a similar length, the entry price is 900 baht.
On Tuesday, in grand show biz tradition, the finishing touches were still being applied to the upstairs section of the theatre but with bars easy to find upstairs or downstairs, the space should work well in both its guises.