Magic Mike Live Delivers the Hype in The Arcadia
The Entertainment Quarter, Sydney, Saturday January 9
Reviewed by Heather Clements
Congratulations to the cast and crew in finally getting the super-hyped Australian production of Magic Mike Live up and running (or should that be thrusting?) in front of live audiences in Sydney. Delayed almost a year due to Covid19, this new production almost didn’t make it when a new virus outbreak threatened Sydney just prior to Christmas on the eve of the show’s big premiere.
Despite almost everything in the world seemingly in its way, I am pleased to say that Magic Mike Live has jumped all the hurdles and managed to live up to its international reputation in delivering one hell of a polished, classy and cheeky show full of excitement and a little bit of naughtiness. Put simply, Magic Mike Live is the perfect antidote for these strange times where the mostly female audiences are enthusiastically cheering for this 90 minutes of pure escapism and fun.
Covid-safe at every point, the very cool venue staff make you feel welcome as soon as you enter the new purpose-built venue, The Arcadia. The atmosphere is that of visiting your favourite bar with cocktails and snacks available for table service at any time throughout the show. The creative team have cleverly designed a space that feels familiar and intimate, where every seat gets an up-close-and personal experience of the performers throughout the show. Built around the main stage area, and utilising the entire space of the venue, there is no ‘bad seat’ at Magic Mike Live.
Cue the start of the show… and don’t miss it. The deliberate cringe-worthy start of the show sets the scene for what becomes a very empowering narrative wrapped in beautiful dance numbers. While many have preconceived ideas that Magic Mike Live is just eye-candy for women, it is in fact a display of the pure athleticism and skill of some incredibly talented and well-trained dancers that prove once and for all that women, and others, really appreciate seeing men confidently strutting their stuff.
The fact that Channing Tatum is the driving force behind this show is clear: it is all class. Magic Mike Live showcases great dance ability choreographed brilliantly to a diverse range of music by Alison Faulk. Even the sexiest scenes are produced so beautifully it’s intoxicating to watch. The production value is impeccable and the individual talents of the male dancers are allowed to shine with some playing instruments, singing, tap dancing, break dancing and doing aerial tricks.
Unlike a standard physical male revue, Magic Mike Live is propelled by a narrative that is told by the female emcee as she guides us through the story of helping young ‘Mike’ finds his confidence both on the dance floor and with the ladies. In this evening’s performance the role of the emcee was played by Amy Ingram who successfully made the audience feel at home and kept the laughs rolling. She played the role perfectly in that Amy was just like one of us in the audience … that could be any average woman on the stage with the boys!
Mike was played by Blake Varga, a young dancer from the Gold Coast, who is relatively new to the professional dance scene and had his first big break in The Bodyguard musical. But Wow! … This boy can move! Blake shows great vulnerability in the role of Mike who is ‘educated’ along the show’s storyline. His dancing shows great technicality and musicality, the result of many years of training. Overall though, every single one of the male cast are chosen for their dance ability, and they all excel. There is not one weak link.
There are many highlights in Magic Mike Live including Joshua Williams‘ singing, the drum solo from Jake Paul Green, Sam Marks’ tap solo, and the great group routines that move in and out of the audience from the main stage. From denim jeans and white T-tees down to their boxer shorts, my favourite group routine was when the boys donned their 3-piece suits to perform an old school dance number on the stairs. Of course, their suits get too hot to perform in. 😉
However, without a doubt the most spectacular elements of the show come during the two routines with ‘The Mermaid’, performed on this evening by Australian-born dancer Max Francisco. As Amy the emcee stated, Max is ‘the most talented randomly selected audience member ever’. (Ha Ha). Her first routine is a sizzling duo with Blake Varga in a pool of water aptly titled… ahem… ‘Wet Dream’. Next, she joins Petr Federovskii in a stunning aerial routine that demonstrates these performers’ incredible strength, agility, endurance and professional partner work. Several of the cast also join in on the aerials at the end of this number and the result is truly awesome to witness.
From the moment you set foot in the Magic Mike Live home of The Arcadia you will feel transported to another place where it feels like the drinks flow freely along with the good times. But this is not highway stop-over flesh show at a dive bar. This is a fully envisaged and perfectly executed high-calibre show for the ‘gals, gays and theys’ that conveys a full narrative and showcases the incredible talents of the entire cast.
Yes, the diverse male performers have mouth-dropping physiques, great physicality and are easy on the eyes, but the true credit goes to the talent of the cast and the brilliant oversight of the choreographers and directors to make this more than a chintzy male revue. This show is heavily designed by women, for women, and it shows. Magic Mike Live is a true entertainment experience.
Considering the last year we’ve had, this is the best girls night out for escaping the real world for 90 minutes. Enjoy multi-talented performers with no cringe. Magic Mike Live is not only a hot ticket but also the best value all-round entertainment in Sydney today … as long as you’re over 18.
MAGIC MIKE LIVE
SYDNEY ⏤ The Arcadia, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park
From 17 December 2020
MELBOURNE ⏤ The Arcadia, Birrarung Marr
From 8 June 2021
BRISBANE ⏤ The Arcadia, TBA
PERTH ⏤ The Arcadia, TBA