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Fringe Review: Michael Jackson – The Mirror

A tribute show to the late Michael Jackson, featuring impersonator Joshua Dal Santo, a 9-member dance crew and a choir.

Presented by Lauren Pisaniello, Ghita Prey & Joshua Dal Santo
Reviewed 18 February 2018

There’s an expectation that a tribute to Michael Jackson will feature the artist portraying him up front and centre but this is not the case here. The 9-crew dance ensemble are the stars, with impersonator Joshua Dal Santo getting well and truly drowned out by the talent around him. His lack of visibility is a combination of placement, talent and, more importantly, his absence from the stage for what must surely be at least half of the show.

Dal Santo undergoes seven costume changes in this very short presentation – a ridiculous number that keeps him off stage while the dance crew shines. When he does come onstage, his lip-syncing is inconsistent and poorly executed, and he often places himself in the middle of the other dancers, hiding from view. His face is masked for most of the show by a hat, sunglasses and enough dangling twirls of hair to make him look like a relative of Cousin Itt. The brief glimpse we get of his actual face during a latter number almost comes as a surprise, but be quick or you’ll miss it.

Lauren Pisaniello’s choreography is executed very well. There’s a great deal of dance talent to behold in the ensemble, but she offers nothing new or creative to make any routine stand out.

A large choir, presumably the Adelaide Voice Crew under the direction of Ghita Prey, sings three ballads, including Man in the Mirror. They’re sweet and sound good but it took the three songs to get over their nerves and really show what they can do.

The Octagon stage projects into the audience, with punters sitting on three sides. Michael Jackson – The Mirror plays only to the front, leaving those on the sides out of luck for a decent view. It seems that little, if any thought has been put into playing to the venue setup.

On the plus side, the pre-recorded music is at the right volume to pump up the jam without being deafening but that’s not enough to warrant the ticket price for this disappointing tribute to one of the greats.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Rating out of 5:  2

Venue: The Octagon, Gluttony, Rymill Park, Adelaide
Season: 25 February, 3, 4 March
Duration: 45 minutes
Tickets: $40
Bookings: FringeTix

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