‘Magic Mike Live’ is not what you think — it’s better
Let go of every expectation you have about a show called Magic Mike Live. Yes, there will be shirtless, attractive men dancing. Yes there will be bottomless prosecco. Yes there will be the Pony song. But the evening of talent, dancing, and, honestly, joy and empowerment taking place at the Hippodrome Casino is a feat of live entertainment.
Rather than writing a traditional review, we (London Theatre editors Suzy Evans and Sophie Thomas) broke down the experience on Slack after seeing the show. Get ready to become one of the unicorns.
Light spoilers ahead.
Suzy Evans: First things first, would you recommend going to Magic Mike Live with your boss?
Sophie Thomas: It's a bonding experience to say the least! I'd say go with your (preferably female) boss if you've got similar interests and you know you're both going to enjoy it.
Suzy: I'm actually surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I had never seen the film, and obviously this is different, but the show really knows what it is and what it's doing and they crafted a thoroughly enjoyable evening of live entertainment.
Sophie: I'd never seen the film either, so I expected it to just be a glorified striptease. But there's a lot that goes on which isn't just topless men! I loved the tap dancing solo and the breakdancing elements. It's just 90 minutes of escapism and exhilaration. Did you have a favourite moment?
Suzy: I hope this isn't a spoiler, but the water dance was my favourite part. It was so beautiful and well-choreographed while also not straying from the heart of the show, which is truly about giving women (and men!) what they want.
Even though the story is fairly thin, I thought they played really well on subverting archetypes and challenging norms. Like, when the show opened and they basically had five guys dressed as the village people, I remember leaning over to you and going "These guys could not care less right now," but little did I know, that was the point and the show was about to take a 180.
Sophie: Omg I forgot about the water dance! Yes the female dancer (Hannah Cleeve, I may have looked her up on Instagram and followed her after the show) was so so so good. I actually got splashed by the water at one point.
Yeah there isn't much of a story to Magic Mike Live, but I don't think it needs a storyline to keep everyone entertained. You're there for the dancing, the good vibes, and just leaving all your worries at the door.
I remember when they said "here's the sexy CEO who pays men and women the same" and we cheered, so there's definitely moments too which aren't just "Here is a man naked for you." Although I definitely had my eye on a couple of them... whoops.
Suzy: Oh yes, it was hard to decide where to look at points. Channing Tatum is inside all of us, Sophie.
Sophie: Oh I wish!!
Suzy: I mean, even though we haven't seen the movie I feel like it's not giving too much away to say that the Pony song is there.
Sophie: Oh the Pony song :heart: to be honest, that's the only thing I knew about Magic Mike before seeing the show, so when there was a live acoustic version (played by the musician who was actually very good!) I screamed IT'S THE PONY. (The prosecco may have helped with the excitement too.)
Suzy: We must mention the bottomless prosecco.
Sophie: How many times did we have our glasses filled? 5? 6?
Suzy: We definitely never had an empty glass, I'll say that. The waiters were great and super attentive. Is there anything you would have changed about the experience?
Sophie: It's probably because we watched it in COVID times, but I wish they came up to us more? Like the dancers performed in the crowd, but I actually got jealous when the dancers would be at other tables and not ours? Something I did not think would be the case before seeing it.
I'm very glad I wasn't picked on though, I think I'd have died of embarrassment if I'd have been selected to go on stage. Those photos would haunt me forever.
Suzy: Yeah, I did not think I'd want more attention! But I did appreciate that they took safety measures seriously. There was a handsome man standing on our table at one point though. I did not hate that.
Sophie: Oh yes right at the end, a great finale! Yeah their safety measures were great, I saw one guy touching one of the performers at one point as he walked past and one of the crew was like you cannot do that!
I think that helped the show feel a bit more classy too, rather than just seeing naked men and touching them like they're objects. Sure the show is about giving women what they want, but it's not at the expense of having 100+ men and women ogle and grab them like a toy.
Suzy: Oh yeah, that's definitely not the vibe. These guys are seriously talented dancers! I feel like we should probably talk about Mike because....wow.
Sophie: I want to date Mike. Is that allowed?
Suzy: There is a guy named Mike, and he basically is a "waiter" and needs to learn how to dance. (Spoiler alert: He does.) Mike had big Adam Driver vibes.
Sophie: And Adam Driver is hot (not a spoiler alert)
Suzy: Would you go back again?
Sophie: Definitely! I'd want to take my closest friends and make them experience what we did. I’d like to state for the record my heart rate was 139 beats per minute by the end and a lot of my friends reached out and just said "had fun?" so I'd want to take them to see if theirs would be higher...
Suzy: Haha, yes I was very concerned about your heart rate!
Sophie: You're from the U.S. Would you go and see it again in Las Vegas?
Suzy: I don't know if I'd go in Vegas, but that's more to do with Vegas and less to do with the show itself. I'd definitely want to go back to the London production with a group of girlfriends.
Sophie: When the world is fully back to normal, I want to do a big girl's night out and Magic Mike Live round 2 would be at the top of my priority list.
Photo credit: Magic Mike Live (Photo courtesy of Magic Mike Live)