‘Cirque du Soleil handles Michael’s legacy with grace and masses of energy’
Having previously experienced Quidam, Alegria and Dralion, touring shows from the world-renowned entertainment and theatrics phenomenon Cirque du Soleil have become an institutional part of my growing-up experience in Dubai. Housed under the World Trade Centre’s roofs, the Michael Jackson: THE IMMORTAL World Tour followed the grand, perfectly-rehearsed reputation of cirque and did anything but disappoint.
Avid fans of the company’s shows will notice that the performance isn’t just filled with acts of contortion and acrobatics, although these feature; the show relies on its unique blend of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits and peaceful outlooks on life to ‘wow’ audiences with a grand tribute to the King of Pop. IMMORTAL opened with ‘The Mime’ clad head-to-toe in glittery silver, and as he smashes through one of the stage’s towering digital screens and the panoramic curtains drop to the floor, you are brought directly into a fantastical world that encompasses MJ himself: Neverland. We are taken on a journey from Jackson’s first involvement in music as a child in the Jackson 5, right up until the period before his passing. This is no second-hand tribute; Cirque du Soleil handle Michael’s legacy with grace and masses of energy.
IMMORTAL is jam-packed with dancing; add to that a brilliant live band featuring some of Jackson’s original members, all of his original song recordings, and you have an evening that soars and gets the audience up on their feet. Cirque du Soleil maintained their interactive factor and had cast members appear during the interval to teach us some dance moves, which left us more eager than ever for the second act. It becomes easy to tell that upholding an authenticity to Jackson and his life is something held close to Cirque’s heart. From aerial hoop performers in pitch-black wearing electronically lighted suits, to another aerial couple who performed contortions and flexibility that were literally beyond belief, under a perfectly picked ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’, what made the performance were the video and voice clips of Jackson himself, preaching of his utmost love for the Earth: our world.
This is a show that is all warmth and full-throated energy; a show that uplifts and upholds the stature of both Cirque and Jackson, and one that makes you reflect. The story that it follows touches on the many different aspects of human nature that Jackson adored. Although very ‘Las Vegas-esque’ in offering a concert-like experience, and somewhat different from Cirque’s classic and sensitively artistic shows, this difference is refreshing and illustrates Jackson’s famous words: “Change is inevitable and always good in one sense or the other.