Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Life As We Know It

I was lucky enough to be invited to view Life As We Know It, the latest stage show to be unveiled on P&O's Pacific Dawn.

Life As We Know It "reflects on the highs and lows of life while exploring human relationships" and is quite some show, far removed from what might be called 'old school' song and dance. It is definitely song and dance but for the most part is a modern, high octane version of cruise ship shows. It incorporates the talents of the Pacific Dawn's dance troupe and its Pacific Cirque acrobats, while making good use of the ship's new LED theatre screens.

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And it is the LED screens that really assist in bringing the show to life. They act as a perfect backdrop that are both visually striking in their own right or incorporated with the performers on stage, and there are times when the performers and the screens work as one. It's hard to imagine a show like this coming together using what was in place in the theatre - namely, a large 'projection screen' - before the LED screens were installed during the April, 2012, refurbishment.

The photo below shows the screen in place before the refurbishment, top, and the LED screens post-April, 2012. You can also see the difference in furnishings.

Before the show, while talking with Carnival Australia Vice President Hotel Operations, Sture Myrmell, he noted that Life As We Know It was put together with a more 'now' audience in mind. And the show certainly delivers on this front - it uses contemporary music, acrobatics, visual effects and high energy dance to take this piece of shipboard entertainment to a new level.

I saw a couple of shows during our Pacific Dawn cruise in February, 2012, and not only is Life As We Know It vastly different to what we saw then, so are the costumes, which were designed by Australian Nigel Shaw who counts, among others, Lady Gaga as a client. The costumes draw on the industrial steam era and what could be described at futuristic fantasy (also, the steampunk style well known to movie director/producer Tim Burton). They are highly stylised and use detailed fabric, as well as metal trimmings such as springs and bolts, in their design.

Life As We Know It has been a work in progress for much of 2012 and the show's creative producers, Grayboy Entertainment, worked with Australian choreographer, William A Forsythe, whose credits include choreographing two segments of the Sydney Olympic Games closing ceremony, and staging Sir Cliff Richard’s concert series at the Royal Albert Hall & Edinburgh Castle.

By now you're probably wanting to know if the show is enjoyable. In a word, 'Yes!'

My review 
It took me a few songs to get into it but, once I did, I loved it. The only reason it took me a few songs was that I went in with a pre-conveived idea of what I thought it was going to be (never a good idea) and it took that long for me to adjust and see it for what it is.

The combination of the performers and the LED screens is superb and, without taking anything away from the performers, the LED screens are stars in their own right that will take shows to a new level. Neither of us are dance critics but the choreography was quite spectacular in parts and the vocals, considering there's a lot of athleticism in the show, were solid.

The performance of Life As We Know It we saw was a special 'travel agent only' one, so we ended up being sat in the second row of the theatre. While there was nothing wrong with this, the show is quite expansive and we would have loved to have seen it from further back, or even the balcony, in order to take in everything. But that isn't meant to take away from the show itself.

Life As We Know It is one of eight production shows featured across P&O Cruises' three-ship Australian fleet and, following its debut on Pacific Dawn, is expected to be introduced to the Sydney-based Pacific Jewel in 2013.

I hope you enjoy Life As We Know It when you cruise on the Pacific Dawn and, as they say in showbiz, 'break a leg!'

Bon Voyage!

*If this post helped you make up your mind to make a booking on the Pacific Dawn, please tell me! TravelWithGiulio@gmail.com

See and read more of my cruise experiences/reviews, including my Pacific Dawn cruise and Pacific Dawn refurbishment posts.

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All photos supplied by Carnival Australia: Rob Maccoll/Byron Lewis
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