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Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil, Perth 19 September 2013

| 22 September 2013 | Reply

Perth Arena, Thursday 19th September
Reviewed by Trulie Pinnegar

Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil

5 Michael Jacksons kick off the Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL Cirque du Soleil World Tour – all from different eras of his long life in the spotlight – performing a medley whilst swinging on trapeze ropes and graffiti-ing a computer generated (Off The) Wall.

It’s a spectacular start to almost two hours celebrating the life and music of Jackson, and only gets bigger with Have You Seen my Childhood. Huge replica gates to Neverland filled the set and the background screen showed clips of Jackson in his formative Jackson Five years. It was very touching yet felt ironic to use this song to reflect such a troubled life.

I had never seen a Cirque show before so it was easy to get drawn into the MJ groove and forget what this show is all about. My companion, a Cirque veteran, advised that this show was definitely more dancey than a usual outing for the Quebec based human circus. A mime makes repeated appearances in-between numbers as performers change costume and set, but his true purpose remains hard to fathom until finally coming to light at the very end when it’s made clear he’s portraying the ‘spirit’ of MJ. Jackson’s pet chimp Bubbles also makes an appearance at times – its things like this that beg the question as to whether the aim of the show is comedic, serious or tributary.

However, 3 songs in and the Cirque du Soleil vibe makes itself well and truly known. The live band kick into their own and include a scantily clad Mariko on the cello and Mohawk-donned guitarist Desiree Bassett. It is evident they are performing to pre-recorded backing tracks but at no point do they try to be a tribute band as Jackson’s voice is present throughout.

Gold, silver and multi-coloured lamé, costumes that seem to be made of fairy lights and suits that light up and flash all abound, reminding the audience that this is a human circus after all! Breathtaking acts intertwine with the musical numbers and include a mesmerising contortion performance by the incredibly bendy Baaska Enkhbaatar. Giulia Piolanti expertly masters the silk ribbons, climbing high and then suddenly dropping – all with elegance and ease. The dancing is good but the star of the troupe has to go to the performer with one leg – his amazing use of crutches meant he was able to pull the moves off as good as the rest of them and he became front and centre in some numbers. He was particularly phenomenal in Thriller, not just for his amazing performance but because he looked like his leg had just been severed!

One of the highlights was Smooth Criminal – it must have been every boy dancers dream come true as they got to replicate the moves that made MJ famous. The troupe included an Al Capone suited ‘Annie’ who disrobed towards the end of the track to reveal she was actually pole dancer Anna Melnikova and then proceeded to wow the audience with a meticulous and effortless pole dance performance!

Other highlights included a very rock-y Beat It – including an intro dance from 2 life-size MJ socks and shoes and a life-size sparkly white glove – and a very powerful They Don’t Care About Us performed by dancers dressed as futuristic soldiers donning helmets and visors and LED breastplates.

The show covered all of the MJ eras, however in no particular order. Was this a good thing? I’m not sure it was…I was left wondering what the show was trying to achieve and trying to be. Yes, it was a great tribute to the star and it did showcase some amazing feats of acrobatics. But it seemed an odd combination. However with tickets starting at $91, it is well worth exploring.

Category: Live Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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