National Music writer Cameron Adams, has written the following review of Cirque’s tribute to Michael, in Australia. He touches on how Michael is missed since his untimely death and the skill of the dancers performing his moves.
“FACT: someone in Melbourne rang up to get a refund on their Cirque Du Soleil Michael Jackson Immortal tickets when they found out Michael Jackson would not be performing. Seriously.
But there is a moment towards the start of Immortal where you’ve been so bombarded with his songs, voice and imagery that when the band launch into ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’’ there’s a tiny part of you thinks how incredible it would be if MJ was around to walk out and join in. Sadly that’s not going to happen, which is why this tribute exists. This is precisely the kind of stage show Michael should have aligned himself with; even in his ailing health he would have fitted perfectly in front of all the dancers busting his trademark moves for him.
The only problem with ‘Immortal’ is that it falls awkwardly between being a Michael Jackson tribute show and a traditional Cirque Du Soleil performance. When the backing singers or drummers move to the front of the stage all it does is reinforce what – or more accurately who – is missing from the picture. The show works best when the dancers, not the band, are in pole position.
Every modern dancer owes a debt to Michael and this is the perfect show to pay respect. Just as you did in the ‘Smooth Criminal’ video, you’ll wonder how they’re doing that gangster lean that defies gravity. Although there’s surprisingly minimal moonwalking or crotch grabs.
There are several classic Cirque jaw-dropping moves – the ninja tumbling in ‘Scream,’ the aerial ballet in ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,’ that looks both highly beautiful and highly dangerous. The astounding high-rise pole dancing in ‘Dangerous’ instantly legitimises the sport for anyone who thinks it’s purely for strippers. And ‘Immortal’ even drags mime into the modern day.
Some of it’s too literal – for ‘Dancing Machine’ the dancers are dressed as machines. And surely there were better songs from Michael’s catalogue to pick than basketball ode ‘Jam’ or the Thriller-lite ‘Is It Scary?’ Especially when they don’t even perform the full version of ‘Thriller.’ Thriller! And just a sliver of ‘Bad.’
The other problem is taking the megamix approach to Michael’s hits stops it from being a basic tribute show, but you’re left with bite-size versions of his classics – ‘Billie Jean,’ ‘Can You Feel It,’ ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough’ and ‘Black Or White’ in a medley.
However there’s plenty to help fill the Michael-shaped void left in the performing world; from the life-size shoes and white glove in ‘Beat It,’ to the illuminated costumes that make ‘Human Nature’ and ‘Billie Jean’ so special.
And you presume Michael would have loved watching one-legged dancer Jean Sok using bone-shaped crutches in ‘Thriller,’ or someone dressed as his beloved pet Bubbles storming the dancefloor. Chamone!”
– Cameron Adams
‘Immortal’ plays at Rod Laver Arena until Sunday, $89.00 – $189.00, Ticketek.