“Absinthe” has been cleaning up its act, and no we are not talking about The Gazillionaire’s raunchy monologues.
The sidelined hit show at Caesars Palace is promoting a product to purify the air we share, the Grignard Pure antiviral, antimicrobial air treatment. Scientists have found Grignard Pure’s active ingredient, triethylene glycerol (TEG), can kill up to 98 percent of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) viral particles within 10 minutes of being introduced to a venue.
This is why “Absinthe” producer and Spiegelworld production company founder Ross Mollison calls Grignard Pure, “Our killer fog juice.”
In January, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved its use in Tennessee and Georgia, for starters. An independent company in our state would need to send a formal letter of request to the Nevada Department of Agriculture to gain permission for professional use. That initial approval would cover the use of the product for professional purposes statewide.
Mollison is hoping for such approval, soon. He is trusting the science to help make his theaters safe. He plans to use the product in “Absinthe,” and also “Opium” at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and “Atomic Saloon Show” at The Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes and, possibly, Palazzo Theater (another option for the show to perform until full-capacity venues are allowed).
Of the Grignard Pure potential, Mollison said, “A whole lot of guys in white coats, the manufacturers and EPA tell us it does have this positive effect. We feel this will provide another level of security.”
But the U.S. testing and approval protocol does not apply overseas, and officials in the U.K. remain unconvinced.
Reports from the London Daily Mail on Wednesday indicate theater legend Andrew Lloyd Webber has spent months attempting to convince Britain’s health officials to run a clinical trail on TEG. Those officials have relented, saying there is not sufficient evidence of the product’s effectiveness or its long-term health effects.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) called for more evidence to be reviewed in the U.K. before the use of “continuous sprays” is considered.
Nonetheless, the legendary composer has offered to test the substance at his 2,300-seat London Palladium, which successfully hosted a socially distanced pantomime in December. Webber told the Daily Mail, “All we are is saying is, ‘Look, you should trial this.’ Because if it is safe, it could be a game-changer for schools and any form of indoor public space.”
For the uninitiated, Grignard’s products are already used in theatrical fog devices and in lighting systems in stage shows in Las Vegas, and in such high-profile venues as Broadway theaters. Overall, the Grignard company owns about an 80-percent market share in the U.S.
If you have been to a show that uses haze or fog or artificial smoke, even the Fogmaster 5000 in “Rock of Ages,” you have probably shared space with a Grignard haze.
Grignard Pure is one variation of many Grignard formulas. The active ingredient in Grignard Pure is triethylene glycerol (TEG), which has been found to nullify the COVID virus.
The Grignard Pure mix was actually established about five years ago and was found to be especially effective as an airborne, anti-bacterial disinfectant. At the time, there was no need for widespread use of that particular mix until the pandemic took hold. But beginning in January of 2020, a team of independent scientists tested the product at Michrochem Laboratory in Round Rock, Texas.
“We got lucky with one (formula) we developed in 2015,” Grignard Managing Director Etienne “TN” Grignard said in a phone chat Wednesday. “We have been blessed to have independent scientists validate its effectiveness.”
Grignard says the process to prove Grignard Pure’s safety and effectiveness against COVID-19 was exhaustive.
“It was hard, working with the EPA, but this science team wanted to prove the efficacy tests, and that took a long time,” Grignard said. “It really put my faith back in government, actually.”
Conceivably, the new Pure product could be used in such shows as Cirque du Soleil productions, at The Smith Center, anywhere Grignard already provides its usual theatrical fog.
A Cirque spokeswoman said the company was familiar with the company, adding, “We have been and will continue to research products that keep our audiences and staff safe.” Adam Steck of SPI Entertainment said, “The technology looks pretty fantastic. I hope it works and is affordable.”
The company itself claims the technology could be used in restaurants; health-care facilities; movie theaters; trains, buses and airplanes; trade shows; anywhere the public gathers in large groups. Etienne Grignard said, “You could even see it used at CES in Las Vegas,” referring to the annual, massive Consumer Electronic Show.
For the time being, Mollison and Spiegelworld are the product’s leading proponents in Las Vegas. When it reopened, during the 250-capacity limits, “Absinthe” introduced such heath-safety measures as an ionization air-purification system, non-touch temperature checks for guests and staff, sanitation of all surfaces and universal mask enforcement.
The company will post signage around the Spiegeltent if the Grignard Pure system is installed.
“We are very confident of our safety measures,” said Mollison, who added that there has been no reported spread of COVID at the Spiegeltent among cast, crew or visitors in the COVID reopening. “We think one of the safest places to be during the pandemic is at our show.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.