Muscle, mayhem and mystique

Magic Mike Live! Photo: Jerry Metellus

The all-male spectacular that has had international audiences swooning is about to hit Sydney, writes Rita Bratovich.

Magic Mike Live is a film-to-stage adaptation like no other. Based on the hit movies, Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL, the stage version takes all the raunchy physicality of the films and hypes it to the max. Having already played Las Vegas, London, and Berlin to a sensational response, the show was scheduled to premiere in Melbourne in June 2020 but had to be postponed due to Covid-19. Now, after a complete re-imagining, Magic Mike Live opens in Sydney this month. 

Channing Tatum, who starred in the films, and on whose real life experience the plots are loosely based, is the creative mind behind the live show. He is actively involved in design and production, as well as auditions. Each show is unique. In other cities, the show has been held in established venues, however the Australian tour will be different.  

Tatum and his team spent a year in Belgium with Het Spiegelpaleis, world-renowned tent builders, devising and building a bespoke, two storey spiegeltent: The Arcadia. It’s an extraordinary multi-faceted, mobile structure that now stands in Moore Park ready for the Sydney show. 

The Arcadia. Video: Magic Mike Live Australia/YouTube.

While the team was in Belgium (pre-Covid), they brought the entire Australian cast over for some trial performances with an audience. 

“I think all of us weren’t expecting the response,” says Dayton Tavares, one of the performers.

“The show is already a lot of fun. It’s a massive adrenalin rush just being able to do what we love on stage performing, but then on top of that when you have the audience, it’s just so much fun.”

Tavares is no new-comer to live theatre. At age 12, he played the much-coveted lead in Billy Elliot here and overseas. After that, he took a ten year break from musical theatre, instead dancing on TV shows and for music artists. It wasn’t until last year when he got a part in In The Heights, that he realised how much he loved live stage performance. He went on to perform in Opera Australia’s West Side Story.

Magic Mike Live is a bit of a dog-leg in the journey – not quite where he expected to find himself. 

“It was the audition process that really changed my mind about the show, because I didn’t really know much about what I was walking into – what was going to be required within the show,” says Tavares. 

“It’s just really cool to do a show that gives you an opportunity to showcase talents that other people may have not known that you had or that you never got to show. Like, even being able to play piano is really cool. And also, the choreography in this show is some of the best dancing choreography I’ve done in a live stage performance.”

Dayton Tavares. Photo: supplied.

One of the misconceptions about the show is that it is all about strutting and stripping; while sensuality is an important aspect, it’s more about showcasing the unique talent and individuality of cast members. 

“They don’t want us to be the stereotype of ‘sexy’, they just want us to be who we are,” explains Tavares.

“We actually play ourselves in the show. So one of the cool things about this show is that, all over the world, it’s cast with all different people with all different talents. So if you watched the show in Las Vegas or Berlin or London – or even in Australia, you’re gonna get a completely different show because a lot of the show is built around the talent that ends up being cast.”

He reassures anyone who might be hesitant: “If you’re on the edge about seeing the show … I’d definitely encourage you to see it because it’s completely unexpected. It’s got something for everyone, it’s got circus, it’s got aerialists, dancing, singing, live music. It’s really kind of hot, hilarious.

“Especially after Covid and isolation, I think this is the night that everyone’s been waiting for.”

Magic Mike Live commences Thursday, 17 December at The Arcadia, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park. All Magic Mike Live patrons must be at least 18 years old. Tickets (from $59 plus transaction fees) are available from www.ticketmaster.com.au. For more information, visit MagicMikeLive.com.au.

Magic Mike Live promotional video. Video: Magic Mike Live Australia/YouTube.

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