Presented by: Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed:  18 July 2016

When a gifted performer dies, the impersonators come out of the wood-work. Since Elvis Presley’s death, there have been literally thousands of Elvis copy-cats. This enables the legend to be kept alive for fans and ensure their music endures. The same can be said for Michael Jackson. Whatever can be said about the often lurid headlines of his private life, as a performer he was amazing. His incredible ability to re-invent not only himself but his music generated new legions of admirers. Seven years after his passing, he still influences musicians as they attempt to copy his slick dance-moves and intricate song-writing skills.

One of his fans is Dantanio, a Jackson impersonator who has travelled the world with his tribute show. With dancers, musicians and plenty of pyrotechnics to back him up, Dantanio set the stage for a fun evening at the Festival Theatre. From the outset he didn’t pretend to be Jackson staging a show. He said upfront this was a tribute to his creative genius with his songs telling the story. Dantanio proved you only have to grab the essence of someone to fully engage the audience. This he certainly did as all continually erupted into a frenzy of musical delight. Most of the hits you knew from Jackson were presented, with each given their own unique look. There’s no need to list the songs aired but if you think the likes of Thriller, Bad and Beat It were sung you’d be correct.

Not only did Dantanio sing the songs very well – almost thinking you were seeing the real thing – but his dance moves were dazzling. The infamous ‘Jackson crotch grabs’ were there although they were kept to a minimum. Dantanio’s version of the ‘moon-walk’ got the place jumping with much screaming from enthusiastic fans. In many ways, the fans became a part of the enjoyment factor as Dantanio played with his audience and effortlessly moved among them during various ballads. One of them – She’s Out of my Life’– saw the audience in a very exuberant mood which is something rarely seen in the Festival Theatre.

Dantanio was more than well served by the six piece band, four dancers and fantastic lighting. All combined to conjure a very tight group with excellent staging that Jackson would have approved. Three video screens also aided in bringing a special flavour to each piece with plenty of colour and movement. You couldn’t fault anything about the production with the acoustics making the theatre come alive with melodic ferocity. This only added to the power of each song as they moved seamlessly into each other. Even at almost two and a half hours in length the show could still easily have fitted in more tunes, such is the vast legacy of Jackson’s output. What everyone got was more than enough however with everyone satisfied by show’s end.

If one word could sum up the entire show it would be ‘energy’ as the energetic performance of all involved provided a more than worthy tribute to a unique artist. We’ll never see the man himself tread the stage again but acts like Dantanio do justice to his work. This was an excellent show worth seeing which I’m sure it will be as it travels around the world to ever-more acclaim.

Reviewed by: Patrick Moore
Twitter: @PatrickMoore14

One night only – Season ended

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