Magic Mike Live

Theatre
Recommended
5 out of 5 stars
Magic Mike Live Melbourne
1/5
Photograph: Peter Brew-Bevan
Magic Mike Live Australia
2/5
Photograph: Magic Mike Live/Peter Brew-Bevan
Magic Mike Live Australia
3/5
Photograph: Supplied/Magic Mike Live
Magic Mike Live Australia
4/5
Photograph: Supplied/Magic Mike Live
Magic Mike Live Sydney 2021
5/5
Photograph: Supplied/Peter Brew-BevanThe lads of Magic Mike Live are ready to get temperatures steamy

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

From the big screen to the big tent, see the smooth moves that set Las Vegas alight

Update 30/08/2021: Magic Mike Live has cancelled the remainder of its Australian tour due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks in Victoria. The cancellation affects the outstanding Melbourne performances, as well as the scheduled performances in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Executive producer Vincent Marini said : "Everyone at Magic Mike Live is heartbroken to have to make this decision but we were left with no choice." The production is committed to returning to Australia in the future. Ticket holders will be fully refunded.

To be clear, we didn't need to rereview Magic Mike Live. Having had its Australian premiere in Sydney at the start of 2021 months ago with the same cast, it’s arguable that our resources might be better spent elsewhere.

Damn the resources. Magic Mike Live is the most fun a girl (or a guy!) can have in a tent. This show is physically magnificent and emphatically women-focused (almost) from the get-go. We say almost, because a cheeky bluff at the beginning has you double guessing what you've signed up for – but it’s a ruse that's swiftly clarified as the cast of charismatic dancers shake, grind and thrust through 90 minutes of pure, unadulterated celebration of the human form. 

That form is largely male, but Magic Mike Live also features some cleverly inserted female dancers who are more than on par with the masculine stars of the show. The cast was certainly fortunate to pick out certain “audience participants” so skilled in contemporary dance – most notably a formidably liquid Clare Bilson, who brings down the house in a breathtaking performance with an equally dynamic Anthony Bartley (the “Mike” for our performance). 

Magic Mike Live declares "you can have whatever you want", and it delivers on that statement. Host Alexia and her imaginary unicorn lead the mostly female audience through a journey seen from the female gaze, with a narrative thread steeped in sensuality and respect. The live show is based off the two smash hit Magic Mike films, starring dancer-turned-actor Channing Tatum, who created the film loosely based on his own experiences working as a stripper in Florida. 

The live show (which debuted in Las Vegas in 2017) is galvanised by the choreography of Alison Faulk and Teresa Espinosa, producing a show of intense physicality where there's not a single noticeable slip-up or gaffe. It’s no mean feat for a production where the dancers abruptly jump onto tables, descend from the ceiling and flip across the stage. The choreography is impressive by itself, but it’s amplified by a soundtrack spanning Fatman Scoop’s ‘Be Faithful’ through to 50 Cent’s ‘Candy Shop’ and Nine Inch Nails' ‘Closer’.

Magic Mike Like takes place inside the Arcadia – a custom-built, two-storey Spiegeltent featuring a 360-degree stage surrounded by tiered seating. You might think that you'll miss all the action if you're not right up close, but quick flash changes really do have men coming from every direction, popping up from every corner of the theatre. Having said that, you're probably gonna get more winks sitting in the "splash zone" (no really, things get wet during one particular scene).

For anyone mentally going "wink wink nudge nudge" at the show, we'll say this: sure, flashing abs that would make Adonis blush and grinding the floor to Ginuwine’s 'Pony' might appear innately sexual, and it is, yet Magic Mike Live still feels overwhelmingly wholesome. It overtly accepts the fact that most of us are sexual creatures and celebrates that with a bucket full of respect, giving women – who have long been named sluts when sexually active and frigid when they’re not – the space to have fun without inhibitions. Bodies are beautiful and it's bloody amazing what they're capable of – we'll leave it to you to decide what part of that sentence you want to focus on when you go.

Magic Mike Live will leave you wide-eyed and grinning from ear to ear. Ride the pony, Melbourne.

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