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Ben Hur Live Cancels Tour Dates, Including O2

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Ben Hur Live, the £5million arena show which premiered at the O2 Arena in September, has cancelled several dates of its current European tour due to "technical problems", including next month's planned return to the O2.

Although tickets are currently still on sale for the O2 dates (15 & 16 January 2010), a representative of the show told Whatsonstage.com that "all dates on the tour up until the end of January have been shifted".

"We've had technical problems, particularly with the galleon", he added, "but we still plan to play the O2, probably in July next year". The tour, which ground to a halt in Milan last month, is due to restart in Antwerp on 29 January 2010, he confirmed.

Ben Hur Live, which was reportedly 15 years in the making and cost over £5million, has attracted its fair share of controversy. The premiere performance was the subject of protestors from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), angry at the use of animals in the show, and it received a frosty critical reception.

Publicity on the show's website promises: "Breakneck chariot races and scenes of an antique naval battle alternated with appearances by gladiators, the performance of orgiastic festivals and vivid Arabian market life. 400 performers, 100 animals, horses and free flying birds of prey, huge backdrops and galleys with expanded sails create the perfect illusion."

Ben Hur Live is produced by German Franz Abraham, and the cast includes Stewart Copeland, best known as the drummer in The Police.

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