Posts Tagged ‘circus

06
Dec
16

Other Women

Other Women

Brisbane Powerhouse with Charming Rebel & Wax Lyrical Productions

Brisbane Powerhouse Turbine Platform

November 25 & 25 and December 3 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

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Lizzie Moore’s latest show doesn’t quite match up with Joel Devereux’s slightly erotic and very inviting publicity image for it, but this bold cabaret makes a strong statement about the way we continue to view the women in our lives and the way we present ourselves, as women, to the world. Featuring a cast of circus, burlesque and musical theatre performers, Other Women asks the tough questions, and leaves us to come up with the answers we’d like our sons and daughters to hear. Are we going to keep putting every sort of woman in a box? Are we going to keep measuring every sort of woman by the same yardstick? Are we going to continue to laugh uncomfortably at the misogynist jokes and references our friends and family members and the media make rather than actually make changes to the language we use every day, and fuck off the cultural lies that keep women from just showing up and feeling genuinely confident to be who they want to be without shrinking or making themselves invisible or putting on an unsustainable OTT Wonder Woman act? Phew. DISCUSS.

We were all allowed to call ourselves feminists…as long as we were not pricks. We were allowed to have one but just not behave like one.

– Barry Stone

Who are the other women? Moore is joined on stage by circus dilettante Freyja Edney, burlesque darling Rosie Peaches and aerial artiste Eliza Dolly, with special guest vocalist Chloe-Rose Taylor, who also performs a contemporary dance. She brings Mad Men ordinary-housewife-and-mother gritted teeth to the story, along with the infuriating, smiling, winking sentiment of Wives and Lovers. That’s before I’m invited up to hold a placard that reads JUST A HOUSEWIFE, alongside other audience members self-consciously displaying STUD and SLUT and BOSS. These labels appear to be self-nominated since we came by them via an audience elimination survey, in my case, judging damning leaving with hands up, only those who chose to have children and stay at home with them for longer than 2 years.

But this is how quickly and casually we assess ourselves and each other.

 

Each individual in the Other Women lineup has her own skill set and distinct style, adding colour and texture, perspective and fierce energy to a show that could almost as easily do without all of it…and perhaps the original concept was just that. Moore could certainly carry this show on her own. But that’s not the show. That’s an entirely different show, and perhaps that’s worth exploring another time. Moore is such a strong, super sexy performer, she doesn’t need anyone but the band on stage. (And the three-piece band is fantastic… Bradley McCaw is actually everywhere again at the moment, isn’t he?!).

In February during MELT you can see Moore in her original one-woman show On a Night Like This: The Erin Minogue Experience

An engaging, entertaining storyteller, Moore minces and sizzles on stage and off, and sings up a storm of epic feminist street protest proportions. Her bold Man-Eater entrance through the audience sets the tone from the outset and The Other Woman offers a glimpse of the stripped-back, rather more raw Moore. In this show she’s a provocateur and she’s here to disrupt, but nicely. It seems she’s here to “misbehave with integrity” (Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes).

The show is strongly political – we can’t possibly miss the message (a Big Book of Misogyny segment spells it out in case you weren’t already paying close attention) – and if we don’t feel any more empowered than we did when we walked into Wonderland, at least (At Last), we feel uncomfortable enough to continue to challenge the status quo.

30
Nov
16

KOOZA

KOOZA

Cirque du Soleil

Skygate, next to Brisbane Airport DFO

November 24 2016 – January 8 2017

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

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Which Cirque du Soleil shows have you seen? Australia has seen eight:

Quidam – Dralion – Varekai – OVO – TOTEM – Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour – Saltimbanco – KOOZA

KOOZA (since 2007) is touted as being Cirque du Soleil’s best show yet, but it’s not my favourite. It’s light and bright and lots of fun without delving too deeply into the psyche or anything overly social or political. And, in times of trouble in the world, apparently that’s just what we need. 

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As the court clowns and the foolish footmen build the tension of a new show the king shuts off the lights… the show has begun. One spotlight appears…a clown…”the innocent ” trying to fly a kite, a large box appears and out comes the trickster. Who will be the KOOZA?

– Poppy Eponine

KOOZA is not entirely without narrative and some would say it’s the most simple and effective story of all (there have been some convoluted plots in the past, let’s be honest). This one features a powerful Trickster (Vladislav Zolotarev), who springs from a box to lead the Innocent, a naive and charming clown (Joey Arrigo), on a fantastical journey through fun times with new funny friends to find his place in the world. It’s a wafer thin classic quest premise, a young hero’s journey – the Innocent’s gotta’ find his corner of the sky – and by combining acrobatics and the art of clowning, we get the best of all aspects of traditional circus (Creator and Director David Shiner).

KOOZA comprises many disparate pieces, something for everyone, and boasts an Olympics worthy international ensemble of acrobats, contortionists and aerial artists. KOOZA might be the first Cirque you’ve ever seen, in which case you won’t look for deeper meaning and you’ll probably see this company’s most exciting and death defying acts straight up.

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On opening night we were privileged to see Queenslander, Lisa Skinner, on the aerial hoop, her act fast and furious; she just a whirl of bright colour high above our heads, and spinning until blurry, toes barely touching the ground, centrestage. Barely into the same act during Sunday’s matinee, Skinner fell from a height of almost 5 metres and landed face first on the floor, sustaining injuries for which she was treated before being taken by ambulance to hospital. My sister (a stage manager) wasn’t calling Sunday’s show, she saw the accident on the monitor backstage. Our parents were in the audience and my mum cried out, along with hundreds of other horrified witnesses. They said Skinner looked as if she might be dead, with her neck resting at an odd angle. Fortunately, Skinner is recovering well. Having already undergone shoulder reconstruction before the commencement of this tour, she must be devastated to miss performing in front of her home crowd for the remainder of the season. 

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The contortionists deliver an exquisite act of ancient serpentine elegance and humour, their bodysuits, of jewels and earth, glistening as they bend and twist and impossibly pose (Sunderiya Jargalsaikhan, Ninjin Altankhuyag & Odgerel Byambadorj). A unicycle duo delight (Olga Tutynina & Yury Shavro), teeterboard acrobats defy gravity, high wire antics thrill, and the balancing chair act elicits gasps of genuine disbelief and awe (Yao Deng Bo). Yao Deng Bo is my favourite performer, the epitome of focus, strength, balance, grace and old world circus charm.

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The Wheel of Death (or, more philosophically and psychoanalytically, The Wheel of Life-Death-Life) proves itself the highlight of the show, although we missed much of it due to the sweat sheet and poor sight lines behind a lighting truss in our seating section. The Columbian acrobats, Ronald Montes & Jimmy Zapata actually risk their lives during this performance; it’s terrifying to watch. I wish we’d been able to see more of it. KOOZA is the first Cirque show to incorporate front of house lighting, requiring the trusses spaced throughout the Grand Chapiteau, and I wonder if it’s the last. The little we were able to see of the skilled artist leaping above the arm of one of these towers was indeed impressive, as he ran and rose magically from the hamster wheel on one end of the turning mechanism, but it lacked tension and thrill factor for us. The same problem applied to the double high wire act and we heard a number of disgruntled audience members around us. Do these people offer their feedback to the company? I hope they do, and I hope, rather than giving a 1-star rating on Trip Advisor or Facebook, they simply advise friends to book seats in a different section. Poppy had an ideal view from Section 200, where she was sitting with her cousins, and she could not stop talking about these amazing acts for days.

The contortionist act was spellbinding but still second-best to THE WHEEL OF DEATH (dah dah dah!). How Ronald Solis Montes & Jimmy Ibarra Zapata amazingly survive the wheel of death time & time again I do not know.   

– Poppy Eponine   

A tight band under the direction of Carl Murr, and powerhouse singer, clad in rich, colourful silks (Jennlee Shallow), deliver KOOZA’s original jazz, funk and Bollywood styled music with gusto. The beautiful, magical structure that holds them, a tall, ornately carved, cylindrical timber tower, the Bataclan, glides forward to feature the musicians and then backwards to serve as an entrance and exit for various acts (Designer Stephanie Roy). It’s a glorious piece of design, fully integrated into the show. I love the way our Australian percussionist (Adelaide’s Ben Todd) is brought out into centrestage to be featured, just as each acrobat takes his or her turn in the spotlight. And spilling from the doorway (only to be chased by a Death Cape destined pack of 150 fake fur rats), I enjoyed the exuberant Day of the Dead dance; it’s a theme from which I’d love to see Cirque draw more heavily.

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Irina Akimova’s hoop manipulation is also highly entertaining but it’s her magnificent feathered coat, the standout costume in this show, that leaves a lasting impression. The KOOZA costumes, designed by Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt, are inspired by comic books and graphic novels, the work of Gustav Klimt, Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. (You’ll see the influence of the flying monkeys on the faces of the acrobats on the double high wire). In KOOZA we see much more from the clowns than in previous Cirque shows and rather than use gibberish to communicate, these clowns speak English. It takes away a little of their charm but it means that every punch line lands just right. The King (Gordon White) and his court jesters (Michael Garner & Michael Berlanga) are clearly adored by the vast majority.

KOOZA is guaranteed quality from the world’s best circus creatives and a collective of 50 performing artists/super humans, and it’s super fun for the whole family. I would never miss a Cirque show and nor should you.

17
Jun
14

Cirque du Soleil turns Thirty and we welcome new production Totem

 

Well, this week Cirque turns thirty and next year in April we welcome TOTEM to Brisbane (or see it in Sydney in October)!

NO, IT IS NOT TOO SOON TO BOOK TICKETS!

 

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On Monday 16 June 2014, Cirque du Soleil officially celebrated its 30th anniversary. This is one of Brisbane’s most loved visiting companies, and has a story to tell like no other. Three decades ago, Cirque du Soleil was the dream of a small community of travelling performers in Quebec, Canada who would do anything to share their love of the circus. The family has grown since then and now includes thousands of dreamers—creators, artists, technicians and workers who toil in the shadows. The dream has become a symbol of Quebec pride, with the international entertainment company having brought 35 large-scale shows to life, 20 of which are still in operation. The company has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries.

 

You already know one of the Cirque family members – my sister, Analiese, who is currently SM on Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour, which we saw here last year.

 

Since 1999, Cirque du Soleil has brought seven of their productions to Australia. Adding a new chapter to Australia’s love affair with Cirque in this 30th anniversary year, the Big Top production TOTEM arrives in Sydney on 28 October and will then tour nationally including seasons in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

 

It all started in Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town near Quebec City, in Canada.  There, in the early eighties, a band of colourful characters roamed the streets, striding on stilts, juggling, dancing, breathing fire, and playing music.  They were Les Échassiers de Baie-Saint-Paul (the Baie-Saint-Paul Stiltwalkers), a street theatre group founded by Gilles Ste-Croix.  The townsfolk were impressed and intrigued by the young performers, which included Guy Laliberté who became the founder of Cirque du Soleil.

 

The troupe went on to found Le Club des talons hauts (the High Heels Club), which began to attract attention, and Guy Laliberté, Gilles Ste-Croix and their cronies began to cherish a crazy dream: to create a Quebec circus and take the troupe travelling around the world.

 

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In 1984, Quebec City was celebrating the 450th anniversary of Canada’s discovery by Jacques Cartier, and they needed a show that would carry the festivities out across the province. Guy Laliberté presented a proposal for a show called Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun), and succeeded in convincing the organisers. And Cirque du Soleil hasn’t stopped since!

 

 

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL – TOTEM

 

BRISBANE – TOTEM will open on April 10 2015 at Northshore Hamilton, Brisbane

 

 

 

 

12
Apr
14

CircUS

 

CircUS

Flipside Circus

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

April 9 – 12 2014

 

Reviewed by Poppy Eponine

 

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Before we even got to the theatre, Aroha had to do some acrobatics to get into a tricky car park. We (sensibly) ran across the road to make the show on time and (carefully) raced up the steps to find four seats together in the top row of the tiered seating. We had very good luck all day. We could see everything. EVERYTHING!

 

This is a circus show of a different kind, without animals, fancy costumes or a Ringmaster, but with extremely talented kids of various ages, who clearly love what they do. What they do, for 60 minutes without an interval, is tumble – forwards and backwards – stand on the shoulders of their friends, hang and twist and twirl on ropes and hoops and swings, leap over each other and jump giant red flags, juggle yellow squishy balls, and keep five plates spinning.

 

I just have to put in, not wanting to spoil the show if you’re going to see it, but do you want me to tell you just one little bit of an actual act? There is a really funny, circus performer. He started off singing along with some music and the other performers kept putting more and more shirts on him. This is something that made me think of my cousin because no matter what happens, even if somebody sits down in the seat that Oscar wants, he just keeps doing what he’s doing, in this case, singing. In this way the little boy was like a clown at the circus and some people laughed and some people didn’t. Maybe they didn’t get it. I screamed with laughter. I got it.

 

Even though the costumes weren’t fancy, they were funny and just good for the acts with big, beautiful, colourful flowers on most of them. One girl wore a bathing cap of flowers. No one wore shoes. Barefoot is better for circus.

 

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The performers are really brave. They take awesome risks, physical risks, and surprised us by climbing over each other. The smallest kids climbed up onto the tallest kids. Sometimes this was to get to the equipment above their heads. Sometimes they just jumped on each other for fun and games. By climbing and balancing, the whole cast of kids create a very fun-looking and extraordinary wall. Mum says they’ll remember they did that and use that extraordinary shape in physical theatre one day at school!

 

The music changed only once. I don’t mean they play just one song – there are lots of songs – but the music suddenly becomes dangerous and an older girl swings on the high rope with a safety rope attached to her belt, and she looks quite groovy. There was a lot of clapping and screaming because her act was so risky.

 

I loved the fun and games in the foyer afterwards. There were: hoops, spinning plates, devil sticks and soft juggling balls. This meant that the show could go on for us and we stayed until no one else who had seen the show was still there. Amanda asked if Flipside gets the Poppy Seal of Approval and yes! Definitely! It was the most awesome, spectacular and amazing circus we’ve seen this year.

 

Flipside teaches other kids too. You can do their classes and holiday workshops at their studio. Even kids who don’t normally do circus – anyone can do it! Because I’m on the Sunshine Coast I’m doing a different class next week here but if you’re in Brisbane you should definitely check out Flipside for your kids. They will love it! And they will love this show! But two shows sold out and the last one is tonight so see here if there are any tickets left for you.

 

 

25
Feb
14

She Would Walk The Sky WTF14

 

WTF 2014 Brisbane Powerhouse

 

February 13 – 23 2014

 

She Would Walk The Sky

Company 2

Brisbane Powerhouse

Turbine Platform

February 14 – 23 2014

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

WORLD PREMIERE

 

An acclaimed Australian playwright and a world-class contemporary circus ensemble combine to create this acrobatic odyssey.

 

Combining the beautiful prose of multi-award-winning playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer (The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy) and the talents of critically-acclaimed circus performer and director Chelsea McGuffin (Cantina, Circa), She Would Walk the Sky is a special commission inspired by the theatricality and scale of Brisbane Powerhouse.

 

A story told above, in and around the audience, She Would Walk The Sky sees new fables and old myths unfold in the vaulted halls of Brisbane Powerhouse. Leave behind the world you know and enter a land where old fires, lost dreams and new hopes linger amidst the broken skies of an old empire.

 

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Oh wow, what a magnificent finale to WTF14! Chelsea McGuffin’s She Would Walk The Sky, commissioned for Brisbane Powerhouse, is indeed an odyssey, taking us on a strange and exotic journey from the Turbine Platform to a place in a parallel universe, inhabited by birds and circus artists.

 

It’s an 8:30pm show on a school night, much too late for Poppy – she’s been to two shows in two days already – but she insisted on seeing this one, the last offering from this year’s festival and I’m grateful she experienced it. This is a different sort of circus. Circus is so often bright and shiny and colourful – we are so used to Cirque’s style now (my sister just took off on the USA tour of Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil!), and while She Would Walk The Sky is by no means a show without the colour and texture and tone and shine and finesse of exquisite technique and trust (not to mention gorgeous costumes by Tigerlil, intriguing writing by Finegan Krickmeyer and artful direction by McGuffin), it lays claim to a slightly different aspect of circus performance, harking back to the original vaudeville acts, blending storytelling, intense relationships, performance art and acrobatics to create something very special, and somehow, a little bit eerie.

 

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The tricks are, of course, fabulous, demonstrating superior strength, balance and perfect timing, which rivals just about anything we’ve seen under the Grand Chapiteau, only in here, in this versatile space inside the Powerhouse, it’s such an intimate experience that we try to stop ourselves even from breathing, let alone gasping under our breath! When incredibly skilled performers like Mozes step into the spotlight, this is an almost impossible challenge, especially when his daring acts are backed by the stirring music played live by performers, and the musicians and composers, Trent Arkleysmith and Sue Simpson. The intensity is heightened because every other performer also has their eyes glued on Mozes as he spins and drops; it’s a fine lesson in focus and only one example of the tone of some parts of the show. On the flip side, there is lovely humour in the piece, and delicate, well-studied movement by Alex Mizzen, who has not only acquired the ticks and flicks of a gentle, beautiful, fragile birdlike creature, but has donned enormous eyelashes to make her look like Amazing Mayzie’s coy little sister.

 

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The show is emceed by a rather clownish host, the youngest of the troupe, who confounds us with bits and pieces of prose, unfinished thoughts and definitive statements about the future of two of the performers (nothing comes of their pairing in the show, they will never end up together, nothing will come of it!), turning upon its head the notion of the ringmaster who is always in control. One of the most poignant moments of the show is felt when a heavy length of rope drops from above and continues to fall on top of him, burying him beneath its weight. At first it’s funny, but then the joke goes beyond, and somehow it becomes a forlorn observation on the fruitlessness of even trying at life. I almost cry. Is it just me? I have no doubt that I would have a different reading of the entire piece if I were to see it again.

 

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I love this – and this is actually why I read the program notes, just for these gems – the intuitive writer, Kruckmeyer, has “given them some words, and left them to walk the sky.” He says, “It’s always a nice thing to give words (so static and wishing for life) to actors (so alive and waiting for words). But to give words to circus performers is something else entirely…”

 

“As humans, we balance, we fall, we are lifted, we are not. We fear for others, and we rejoice in what they do.”

 

She Would Walk The Sky is evocative of anything lovely and sad you’ve ever remembered, and I can’t wait to experience it again sometime soon.

 

03
Dec
13

Circa Zoo Showcase

 

Circa Zoo

Judith Wright Centre

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

1 December 2013

 
Reviewed by Meredith Walker

 

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At last month’s World Theatre Festival 2014 launch, Artistic Director  of Brisbane Powerhouse, Kris Stewart, referred to Brisbane as a circus city. It would seem Ruth Hodgman and Lewis Jones at The Judy agree, with leading Australian contemporary circus group, Circa, having made its home there fro some time.

 

Since 2006, Circa has toured its innovative performances across the globe to critical acclaim. Behind the scenes of its mainstage triumphs, however, is a youth workshop program, and it was its youth performance troupe – Circa Zoo – that was on display last weekend, presenting two shows to an almost full house of supportive audience members, as part of its Training Centre showcase.

 

UpDownUp is an out-the-box style of show, literally, as it features nine nimble performers of various ages emerging from a large box to balance, tumble, flip and manically hula-hoop in a series of gymnastic moves. And while ensemble synchronicity may still be developing, the skill of the young performers is undeniable. Then there is Brink which begins with a single spot-lit dancer as hint of the focussed acts to follow.

 

With lithe movements, performers use the traditions of the circus to impress, particularly through their rope and aerial work. Indeed, the whole show is not so much a circus as a celebration of strength and skill (and balance that would impress any yoga guru).

 

While all performers were given chance to showcase their variety of skills over the Circus Zoo’s 85 minute duration, the show could have been more succinct. Choreography is clichéd at times, however, this suits the comic tones of some routines and the consequential vaudeville flavour is playful and fun. The enigmatic soundtrack, which features both artsy and upbeat remixes of familiar songs is another highlight.

 

Though stripped back in its presentation style, the Circa Zoo showcase revealed plenty of compelling moments.

 

The calibre of talent on show indicates that the future of our circus city is certainly in capable hands.

 

04
Oct
13

Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil

 

Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil 

The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil

Brisbane Entertainment Centre

2 – 6 October 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

After the show I spoke with one of the Artistic Directors, Neela Vadivel, who was more than happy to address my tricky questions about The Estate’s take on Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil. Neela, bright as a button at 11pm when I was teetering and Poppy had already crashed, told me that there are only two Michael Jackson shows in the world that have been approved by The Estate, “and we have them both.” Cirque is super proud to bring the first of their two MJ shows to the world (the second show, Michael Jackson One by Cirque du Soleil, is up and running in Las Vegas. It’s a little more “Cirque”. Expect to see it here…eventually), and there’s a bit of a reverent ambience backstage; there is – quite rightly – an enormous amount of respect amongst these ranks for MJ.

 

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Five “super fans”, The Fanatics, open the show – they’re the MJ lookalikes who appear in lieu of the clowns we love to see at a Cirque show – and they create a giant mural of Michael Jackson before we are suddenly taken into the world of Neverland and MJ’s Neverland Zoo. I’ve had some fascinating conversations with people about this show, and on more than one occasion I’ve been very glad my memory hasn’t failed me. Just in case the naysayers were right and I was wrong, I did some reading. You can check the facts for yourself here, but I think it’s important to note that MJ didn’t spend all his money on theme park rides, exotic jungle creatures and keepers. In fact, he donated to many charities, and founded or contributed to more good causes than most. Despite this show coming across as a bit of a myth-making effort, there is merit in its messages of hope, compassion and peace, which we get full-pelt in Act Two, just in case we missed them earlier. So more on that later.

 

The IMMORTAL band, led by Darrell Smith, whose handshake is as impressively strong as his musicianship, play over tracks that have been created especially for the show, allowing the musos (a number of whom, including Smith, and also the drummer, John “Sugarfoot” Moffett, are Michael Jackson’s original band members), allowing us to hear the familiar original eighties and nineties beats beneath a fuller, richer band sound with additional backing vocals sung live by Fred White and Stevvi Alexander. If you’re not a Michael Jackson fan, you’ll still love the live concert sound, louder than anything I’ve ever heard at Boondall, the bass reverberating beneath us, and most of the audience on their feet well before the end of the show.

 

My favourite segments, largely due to the clever combination of dance and aerial, showcasing MJ’s famed choreography and Cirque’s renowned acrobatics, comprised This Place Hotel, Smooth Criminal and Dangerous. The Pole Dancer, Guest artist Anna Melnikova, is without doubt the best pole dancer I’ve seen, her strength and grace defying gravity, her confidence and supreme skill daring the women around me in the Grandstand to keep watching just as the men do, in total awe; it’s the admiration she is due. Also impressive in their superior skill sets are Guest Artists Luba Kazantseva and Hampus Jansson (Aerial Silks) and Baaska Enkhbaatar (Contortionist, eliciting similar gasps and wide eyes from some of the women sitting near me).

 

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Now, let me mention The Mime. He gets a special credit in the press list, unlike the lighting guys – it’s Mansour Abdessadok – but I didn’t find his role particularly effective, more a distraction, interrupting what would otherwise be beautifully smooth transitions from one segment to the next. (The spectacular lighting alone could move us from one number to the next!). Dressed in silver-white street attire, The Mime represents all things urban and MJ, channelling the spirit of Michael Jackson and performing a beatbox number that others may have better appreciation for. The concept is fine – I can see how it would have worked at the butchers paper/whiteboard/round table stage but it fails to capture my imagination as much as other aspects of the production.

 

Thriller is a winner with the audience, with its iconic choreography combined with the leaps and bounds of the acrobats, and Beat It adds some humour to the evening with a giant glove and a pair of penny loafers magically coming to life. But the real magic of this number is the cellist, Mariko, another artist who we were privileged to meet backstage, and though tiny she may be in real life, on stage she is a dazzling superwoman, rocking her electric cello in a one-legged sparkling hot pants suit! I am in awe of Mariko and also, with the other best casting job of the show, the awesome lead guitarist, Desiree Bassett.

 

After Interval the environmental messages come thick and fast, followed by the political; we get some real Cirque action with a perfectly synchronised team of aerial dancers, which leads into a reenactment of a sequence from MJ’s THIS IS IT tour; it’s a gridiron army of soldiers with LED breastplates in case we miss the message in the lyrics: THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT US. I tell Poppy to take her eyes away from the multiple screens, which are flickering with violent, desperate images, and instead, try to focus on the dancers themselves. What is that symbol? A dollar sign. And that one? Peace. Even the seven year old gets it. If you’re taking a little friend, this segment may be challenging. The following sequence may be challenging also, depending on your emotional state, and your love and admiration for MJ. It’s a bit of a tearjerker. As Michael Jackson’s voice and image gives us his original rendition of I’ll Be There, artists come from every direction to make their way through the audience holding glowing red hearts. By this time I’m looking forward to a little more iconic dance and I’m not disappointed.

 

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The Mega Mix comprises Can You Feel It, Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, Billie Jean and Black or White, again utilising many wires and showcasing Cirque’s superb acrobatic and aerial skills. The LED costumes featured here, and elsewhere throughout the show are pretty special, and we took a closer look at them with Nate after the show. It’s technology created for Cirque by Cirque and it’s continuously evolving, with the latest models featuring inserts so, for example, wardrobe can take care of the sweaty, grubby gloves while techs can fix any LED issues at the same time. The batteries are also Cirque-made and we saw an entire packing case on charge, such are the numbers required to power the many costumes in IMMORTAL!

 

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IMMORTAL ends with Man In the Mirror, in a celebration of the “legacy of an immortal” and despite there being more to this story, this production is a big, hearty chunk of it; it’s a broad collection of the happiest chapters of what I still believe, ultimately, to be a very sad story about an individual who felt the need to re-create himself and in the process, got a good way along the road to changing the world. As far as mythmakers go The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil just rose to the top.

 

IMMORTAL must finish in Brisbane on Sunday.

 




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