Magic Mike Live
Reviewed – 29th November 2018
“opens in the cheesiest way imaginable, but ends up unexpectedly challenging stereotypes”
Channing Tatum brings his hit Las Vegas show to London’s Hippodrome Casino with heady anticipation. Magic Mike Live promises to give women everything they want and need and I’m delighted to say it delivered.
There is a loose narrative involving Sophie (Linder-Lee) and an Italian waiter dubbed Mike (Sebastián Melo Taveira), who she has summoned on stage using the power of the unicorn (yes, it is as bonkers as it sounds). Sophie wants to teach Mike how to please a woman, and so begins Mike’s journey as he learns to dance from his fellow performers.
It’s tongue in cheek, much more so than the films were. But unlike the films (barring Tatum of course), the entire cast really can dance. They are not restricted to posing and grinding to raunchy R&B, but excel at break-dancing, tap dancing, and even Mission Impossible style aerial stunting. Melo Taveira is jaw droppingly good, particularly during an intensely seductive duet performed in the rain with Hannah Cleeve. But talent abounds in this show and is not limited to dance alone. In one number, each guy gets out an instrument (of the musical variety) playing live to Zayn’s PILLOWTALK.
The MC, Sophie, is often one step ahead of the audience. She preaches that women can ask for what they really want out of the men in their lives, and also gives a lesson on the importance of consent. The show opens in the cheesiest way imaginable, but ends up unexpectedly challenging stereotypes. There are some surprisingly progressive messages for a show which, at its core, objectifies the male body.
The staging makes sure you’ll have a night to remember in every seat of the house. The central stage supplemented by a raised balcony, for the glorious benefit of the upper circle, and the performers mingle with the crowd among the cabaret style tables. Such attention to detail is also given to the fake ‘unicorn’ bills which are handed out to be thrown to the dancers for encouragement, not that they need much more of it with the constant whooping and cheering.
I will be explicit. There are thirteen attractive, impossibly fit, male dancers who all strip off during the show. Some of the time they keep their clothes on, but the biggest screams and applause come when they don’t. It’s a show which knows its audience, but supplements the sex appeal with technically brilliant performances and high production values. A strip show for the discerning lady, if you will.
Reviewed by Amber Woodward
Photography by Trevor Leighton
Magic Mike Live
Hippodrome Casino until October 2019