REVIEW: Cirque du Soleil magic just about makes up for the lack of Jacko
Devout Michael Jackson fans will lap up Cirque du Soleil’s latest show, Immortal. The world-renowned circus company pays tribute to the King of Pop with a typically high-octane, high-camp performance, complete with white gloves, fedora hats and the world’s most famous chimp.
A whistle-stop tour through Jackson’s career, the performance revives all the hits we know and love, adding a little Cirque magic. A live band thrashes out the songs from upstage while the sound system screams into the abyss that is World Trade Centre. This warehouse of a venue lets the show down – the audience is woefully detached from the action on stage, and left to feel like so many chickens in a battery farm.
Happily there is enough talent on display to keep you gripped. Ever seen a one-legged break dancer? You heard us right. French amputee Jean Sok almost steals the show with his incredible dexterity, sometimes on crutches, sometimes not. Other solo performers who shine include a mesmerizing pole dancer for Dangerous, and a reptile-like contortionist who writhes through the pages of a vast book.
Among the ensemble routines, a troupe of five tumblers in white leap and flip in perfect unison, propelled ever higher by a spring mat. This is Cirque du Soleil at its best, pulling off physical feats with grace, without the froth of dry ice and mawkish love hearts. Another beautifully simple moment sees black-clad dancers suspended above the stage in the dark, their costumes strewn with LEDs. As they hang in the air, their body lights flicker like human Christmas trees, all to the tune of Billie Jean.
Closing footage of Jackson as a child, singing his lungs out to I’ll Be There, tugs at the heart strings and portrays the star as a little boy ill-suited to the adult world. It’s a poignant image, but highlights the show’s main flaw – the star of the show isn’t there.
Until January 14
World Trade Centre, Dubai, 8pm, Dhs295. Tel: (800) 86823. Metro: World Trade Centre. ticketmaster.ae