Kenny is a Wizz at Michael JacksonJennifer de Klerk
Jennifer de Klerk: Who are the Michael Jackson fans? Judging by the audience at the Sunday matinee, it is just about everyone.
Grey-haired couples, excited 20 and 30-somethings in sequinned hats, families, babes in arms – they were all at Michael Jackson HIStory II at the Joburg Theatre.
As the rain pelted down outside, the Joburg Theatre was aglow with expectation, coloured glowsticks waving as the lights dimmed.
The show started with a pulsating, scintillatingly choreographed number, robotic and starkly lit. The crowd went wild.
Number followed number, non-stop and loud. Very, very loud. Some around me obviously loved it, mouthing the words, singing along. Others sat still. Silent.
Kenny Wizz has the looks, the moves, he can certainly dance… he is backed by some spectacular special effects, screens, vividly coloured pulsating lights, billowing smoke.
His six dancers exude energy, the costumes are bright and varied… Kenny wears the sunglasses, tilts the hat, flashes the white socks, gyrates in shimmering golden pants.
The six-piece band – four from South Africa – are onstage and give it their all. The solo guitar is stupendous, the sax comes to the fore.
“Mom, he’s magic,” an awed little voice said behind me. “Yes, he is magic,” mom agreed.
It worked for them.
For me, some of the time, on some of the numbers…
Generally I found the sound mix disturbing. I couldn’t hear the words. The instruments were too loud – painful. It sounded distorted …
The music, of course, is evergreen. Numbers like Dangerous, Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Bad, Billie Jean, We are the World and, of course, Thriller, will be around forever. The music of Michael Jackson will never, and must never, die.
Kenny Wizz is not Michael Jackson. He does not pretend to be. Towards the end he pays a moving tribute to the King of Pop.
Register here some disappointment. I had hoped for more of a story, a musical biography, a “history”. There was nothing of that. I’ve been told I was wrong to expect it. This is a concert… music, non-stop music. That we certainly had.
There are some spectacular moments. At one stage Kenny climbs up the side of the stage, in another moment he flies above our heads; he makes several sorties in the audience, clasping hands, hugging kids… the lighting, the dancing, and the choreography cannot be faulted.
In the second half, when we arrived at the big numbers, people swayed, lighting their flames, waving their glowsticks.
If you love Michael Jackson’s music, if you want to take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the great times of the last 40-odd years – and your ears can stand it – this is your show.
Michael Jackson HIStory II is produced by Showtime Australia. It is at the Joburg Theatre until February 10.
Jennifer de Klerk is editor of Artslink.co.za
Joburg Theatre Complex, Loveday Street Braamfontein Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa