16 July 2012

Ahoy! Shows

It’s been a break for CJ and a cruise to celebrate a significant birthday for my Mum. This one was to the South Pacific, by P&O lines, on a ship called the Pacific Jewel, and was quite different from the last cruise I’ve reported here. Perhaps it’s the line or the South Pacific location or the Aussie (and Kiwi) passengers with their casual and unpretentious interests. This cruise had no string quartet and only a very minor classical piano presence, but there was some decent popular entertainment that I am happy to report on this cruise of shows.

We saw four major musical theatre performances. One was called Girt by sea with an obvious Aussie cum Bondi theme and a Countdown segment with Skyhooks and Masters and various other 60s/70s or later Aussie stalwart songs. The second show had a Pirates theme with audience involvement and an oddly unrelated segue into Elvis with a Chitty-chitty-bang-bang reprise (!). The third was Away to the Circus with locals called up as performers and acrobats as acrobats and even a mother and baby elephant. The fourth was Do you wanna dance and covered a range of dancing styles. I was further back for this one and realized how much I’d enjoyed a front row seat for the others, even well to one side, which had been a far more intimate and involving experience. It may also be that this show was more devoid of story, more just a variety presentation of dance styles: Viennese waltz, wartime jive, Spanish paso double, that strange modern take on Irish jigs and electronica. The songs were fewer and the story less evident. Still, there were skills and style a-plenty so I enjoyed it despite the distance. They all had their musical twists and frequent pop-culture references. My descriptions may sound strange, but the shows all worked and were entertaining and I have great respect for the performers. The same cast of 2 singers and 6 dancers (2 also sang) performed four major shows over 10 days with recorded music in a well-lit and amplified theatre. It takes 2 months onshore before the shows are ready, so these performances are not lightweight even if their themes are. Given copyright mania, no pics were allowed so I’ll otherwise limit my reports. The key singers were Gemma Zirfas and David Randall and they were supported by the drearily named but very capable Pacific Entertainers, Adam, Dean, Gemma, Natalie, Tuesday and Mark.

Circus is the rage these days and this cruise had its own acrobats. Five acrobats (four male, one female) performed as the Pacific Cirque in the atrium or outdoors when weather allowed. This was juggling, acrobatic flips and rolls, incredible feats of strength (and bodies to match) and various high acts – trapeze, silk, ropes. All impressive and muscular feats and trust from one performer to another and done without nets or other protection. It’s an old art form and impressive.

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