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Man in the Mirror (Plymouth)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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With a palpable vibe as the lights go down, this was an exuberant full house eager to enjoy, join in and be entertained.

But Man In The Mirror falls somewhat short of the mark. Having sold out across USA and Canada, and hitting the UK at just three venues, I rather expected more.

A tribute to the King of Pop, the main six singers are uneven with some superb moments and tuning problems by turns, the choreography is uninspired and repetitive (much writhing and crotch clutching), and the dancers at times wooden and seemingly with not enough elbow room. But the musicians are excellent – particularly the drummer.

This is purely a tribute with no narrative and the singers not attempting to emulate the man but rather to sing his songs interspaced with talking heads (Liz Taylor, Lionel Richie, Janet Jackson, Liza Minnelli et al) and footage played on a large screen at the back of the brooding set (mainly a scaffold gantry and stairs with the odd chair and table brought on for a spot of dirty dancing - parents beware!).

And the order of songs is odd and the momentum stutters with too long gaps between numbers.

The keen-as-mustard audience is denied the opportunity to get ‘stuck in’ until late on, and even then once encouraged to get up on their feet and boogie, the next song is a ballad with the opening bars missed as the dejected audience noisily reseats itself.

Once the young lad (name unknown but deserving of special mention – in fact initially I thought he may have been miming so good was he) bounces onto the stage, the energy lifts and the atmosphere rises until the finale medley gives the willing onlookers the chance at last to participate with the songs coming thick and fast and everyone up, giving their all.


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