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LIVE MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR Perth 2013

LIVE MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR Perth 2013

 

MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR

BY CIRQUE DU SOLEIL - PERTH ARENA 18 SEPTEMBER 2013

 

Cirque Du Soleil’s much anticipated ‘Michael Jackson’s Immortal World Tour’ hit Perth on Wednesday night to an almost packed house at Perth Arena for a run of shows and in truth received quite a mixed response, but not necessarily in a bad way.

 

 

 

 

Whenever ‘Cirque’ put on a show there are always certain expectations of high flying acrobatics and circus stunts, and it was that section of the crowd rather than the majority who were clearly here to listen to Jackson’s music and remember his musical legacy that might have been somewhat disappointed.

 

 

 

‘Immortal’ you see isn’t your usual Cirque show, and isn’t what you might expect from the franchise, but what it is, is two acts of music from one of the greatest musicians of the last thirty years set amongst some tightly choreographed dance scenes, with a smattering of stunts.



 

 

One of the only drawbacks for me was the seemingly scattered narrative that ‘Immortal’ employed:  rather than take a straightforward linear stroll through Jackson’s career, ‘Immortal’ staggers backwards and forwards tied together only via the thread of the ‘voiceless narrator’ - a silver-suited mime.

 


Initially it’s a little disconcerting to see a boy Michael so close to a ‘Smooth Criminal’ Michael then backwards to ‘Thriller’ then ‘Beat It’. The only way to look at it really is to just let it wash over you and experience the individual scenes without expectation of an ongoing narrative. 

 

 

 

 

In isolation of course each scene embodies part of the Jackson story or an aspect of his character from early childhood to the love of his fans, and the show is beautifully choreographed even if the real show pieces are sparsely distributed throughout the two acts of the show.  You can argue that it allows the music to come to the fore, yet aside from the real classic Jackson songs the playlist is a little out of kilter at times. 

 

 

 

 

There are some real standout performances though, that are both visually stunning and very in keeping with the spirit of the songs they portray. The real highlights are undeniable and in the first act that comes with the Pole Dancer and contortionist sequences before climaxing with a packed stage to celebrate ‘Thriller’ in grand style.

 

 

 

 

The second act is a little more subdued, more focussed on dancing and music after the spectacular aerial acrobatics on silks of the opening Swans sequence set to ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ it was one of those highlights that made you wonder how much better the show might have been a s a spectacle with more segments like this.  Throughout there is also the recurring appearance of the one-legged dancer who at time steals the show, perfectly balanced on his crutches.

 

 

 

 

The backdrop to the entire show - the band is also impressive, lined up at the back of the stage to add live instrumentation to Jackson’s piped voice, and at times key musicians become part of the spectacle taking centre stage.  You can’t help but feel that this part of the production would be close to what Jackson would have travelled with if he hadn’t died before that proposed tour.



‘Neverland’ is another recurring theme, though at times the gates strike an unintentionally sinister note especially as the stage darkens. Putting all of that aside though the audience is just as big a star of this show, singing along and clapping in celebration, mouthing all the lyrics and constantly engaged by those on stage.  

 

 

 

 

If you came for the music it’s hard to think you would be disappointed, but if you came for sheer spectacle then you might be left feeling a little short-changed. Essentially ‘Immortal’ is a Michael Jackson concert without Jackson with a mere hint of Cirque’s usual visual spectacular and with the ‘Man in the Mirror’ no longer with us if it’s a facsimile of a Jackson concert you are craving this just might leave you satisfied.

 

 

 

by Mark Diggins September 2013

Photos: OSA Images / Costumes: Zaldy Goco / C2012 Cirque-Jackson I.P., LLC

 

 

 

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