Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cirque du Soleil's: Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour at the JLC

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Cirque du Soleil's: Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour at the John Labatt Centre and it was absolutely FANTASTIC!! The music, the dancing, the costumes, and everything else had everyone on their feet at the end for a standing ovation.

My mother and I dined at La Casa Ristorante before the show and it was delicious. I had the Chicken Picatta and my mom had the Salmon Della Casa.  If you haven't been there, I highly recommend it. 

Anyways…..onto the show!

We arrived at the JLC around 7:30 and took our seats. We were very close to the stage; the first level up from the floor and to the side so we could see the entire back stage and walkway/front stage as well. These two were ready for the show!
I started off feeling a bit underwhelmed during the first few scenes. I'm not sure if it's because I had my expectations set too high, or because there was a lack of context and continuity within the first few songs/scenes. 

The opening scene had five men dressed in various Michael Jackson style outfits, who reappeared throughout the show for various scenes, including a nice mash-up of the earlier Jackson 5 songs (see picture below). They were carrying around boom boxes and the song "Working Day and Night" came on and the men danced and eventually were lifted into the air and did an interesting in-air run against a screen displaying various fast moving images, finally they began painting the screen.  It was an interesting visual display, but I had hoped for a grander opening number to one of MJ's more famous songs.
It then transitioned into the cheesiest/creepiest of the scenes. MJ's voice came over the speaker and he was speaking about the importance of having a childhood (they used clips of MJ’s voice at the beginning of a few scenes, which was hauntingly beautiful and reminded me of what an impact he had on this world). Then the song "Childhood" came on and suddenly there was a giant air balloon floating across the stage/over top of the floor audience. There was a child in the balloon and it took me a minute to realize it was a life sized doll. It creeped me right out, but I understand the significance of the scene and the song in terms of Michael’s life and thoughts on childhood. 

After that, things picked up and there was a lot of high energy scenes, including a group dance to “Shake Your Body Down To The Ground” and an interesting factory-like scene to the tune of “Dancing Machine”.

Things slowed down a bit after that with a tableau scene to the song “Ben”. Again, the slow stuff just didn’t appeal to me as much. It felt out of place and overly contrived, plus it didn't have the high energy dancing/choreography that I love!

Luckily things picked right back up again and the performers paid homage to MJ’s video for “Smooth Criminal”. Decked out in their zoot suits, they did a great dance and even ended with an awesome lean scene that incorporated fireworks into it! This transitioned nicely into “Dangerous” where a female acrobat performed a dance on a pole that made me think that she must have had her bones removed at some point. The way she could twist and stretch her body was unreal. 
"Thriller" closed the first half and was depicted as a graveyard scene, of course. They did the classic Thriller dance wonderfully, which was a nice treat so close to Halloween! Everybody cheered as the curtain closed for intermission.

The second half I enjoyed more than the first I think, perhaps because there was less of the slow scenes, or maybe the scenes that were slow were done in a less creepy way! It opened with "I Just Cant Stop Loving You", which actually made me laugh a bit because I love this song and I plan to use it in my wedding. My husband and I will have our first dance to this song and perform a cheesy duet as we enter the dance floor as well.* Anyways, the focus was on a male and female acrobat doing crazy things with their bodies in the air. I think everyone just stares in awe when acrobats perform, it’s such a unique talent.

A slow scene in the second half that was hands down my favourite of the slower ones was to the tune “Human Nature” and it had acrobats in the air wearing LED light up suits. They moved around in the dark black air with tons of little lights (stars) lit up on their bodies, looking like constellations in a night sky. There was a slight creep factor in this one too though, when I realized there was a giant fake child again sitting on the crescent of the moon behind the floating constellations. But the focus was on the beautiful star show, so the creepiness faded. 
The second half continued with great songs and dance scenes. Including one where 5 male acrobats did flips and jumps in perfect synchronization. 
They paid homage to Michael's "Jam" music video by incorporating basketballs into a group dance scene. Another great scene was set to "They Don't Care About Us", which had powerful images on the background screens and giant robots marching/dancing. 
The ending was strong with a mix of "Can you Feel It", "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" "Billie Jean" and "Black or White". But the final song was "Man in the Mirror", which is apparently the song Michael used to like to close his shows with.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention that Bubbles was there too! In his overalls. There was also a scene that used giant versions of Michael's signature sequin glove and penny loafers as props.
It was an amazing show and while there were certain songs I might have interpreted differently, I have so much respect for everyone involved with the performance, on stage and behind the scenes. It was truly a tribute to Michael Jackson and reminded everyone of his talent and influence. 

I want to thank the JLC for giving me and my mom (she also loved it!) the opportunity to see the show. If you aren't following them on Twitter yet, you better do it RIGHT NOW! @JLC

*I am currently single, so if you're a nice young single man and the idea of doing a hilarious duet/dance to an MJ song at your wedding sounds appealing, feel free to message me ;) 

Photo source:

No comments:

Post a Comment