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Mike’s Magic, but a little long for comfort

“Come along! Watch hot good young men get their gear off,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said.

And it was. For the first 30 minutes.

Don’t get me wrong, the two twenty-somethings who joined me at Magic Mike Live were on their feet shouting for more, their hands eagerly outstretched in anticipation of a lusty grope every time a male stripper sprinted past. I guess though when you’re 60ish, the sight of a finely honed set of abs, you’ll never get your hands on anyway, doesn’t warrant 90 minutes of study. Or as my friend aptly put it, “we’ve seen it all before.” While we may be officially described in media terms as “elderly”, the memories live on. Thanks Chippendales!

The ABSolutely fabulous cast of Magic Mike

Created and choreographed by women for women, and originally designed as a dance show you could actually touch, there’s definite delight in a show that throws political correctness to the wind. While not as provocative as it was pre COVID, when the boys would impulsively pick out random members of the audience to share the fun of a lap dance, it’s still exquisitely risqué and daring. It’s also deliciously politically incorrect and oozing with hypocrisy. One can only imagine the broo ha haaa that would emerge if the roles were reversed and 16 hot women were cavorting mostly naked on stage to the bawdy cheers and encouragement of hundreds of men. We’d never hear the end of it.

Staged at the Entertainment Quarter in Sydney’s Moore Park, the show is inspired by the film Magic Mike that starred its producer Channing Tatum who based the film loosely on his own experience as a young male stripper.

As Tatum states in the Magic Mike Live program: “I wanted to take a type of entertainment that has not evolved at all since the late 70s and reimagine it for the world we live in right now – to provocatively jumpstart the conversation about what women really want from the men in their lives.”

I had no clue that what I really wanted was a bunch of chiselled young men gyrating and grinding in a very intimate purpose-built setting, but I was happy to be convinced.  Although, I have to admit, was relieved when not confronted by full-frontal nudity.

The show launched in Las Vegas in 2017 and has permanent homes in London and Berlin. Determined to get it on the road in Australia and needing a portable venue to tour, the world’s largest Spiegeltent, the Arcadia, was built, a huge indoor lobby with sofa seating outside to enjoy a pre-show drink and 600 seats inside offering table service for food and drinks. COVID restrictions are observed with only 75 per cent of the venue filled and masks mandatory.

It opens with a ‘nasty’ MC (Jack Rayner) offering lewd suggestions to the predominately female audience comprising numerous flocks of horny hens, desperate and dateless singles and a fair smattering of enthusiastic middle-aged women, all hankering for a peep show.

He was replaced by a rather Rebel Wilson-ish type MC (Amy Ingram) who reconstructs the theme of the show, pointing out that cheesy clichéd costumes – think fireman, cops and cowboys – are not the key to turning women on, a matter of opinion I guess. Instead, she  ‘plucks’ random ‘waiter’ Mike (Blake Varga) from the audience to be trained in showing what women really want.

From there we go on a raunchy ride which includes a unicorn descending from the ceiling, a very hot paddling pool scene and the ripped cast of hot men gallivanting among a very enthusiastic audience. Eye-candy aside, it has to be said these boys can dance. The choreography is outstanding and their years of training in tap, ballet and jazz prove they weren’t chosen for their abs and looks alone.

For me, the 60-ish, I peaked early, satisfied after just half an hour. However, I was an exception compared with the majority of the audience. Clearly in these restrictive COVID times, a night out where you can let your hair down and scream for more, just for the heck of it, is certainly a good time.

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