The Prodigy tour 2019: “No Tourists”

 In February 2019, UK electronic group “The Prodigy” returned to Melbourne for one night only (within their Australian tour) to spoil and thrill their audience with the their popular favourite songs that were chart toppers in Australia plus a couple of songs from their new album “No Tourists”. “No Tourists” was released in November 2018, giving audiences ample listening time and to decide on some favourites. For those unaware, The Prodigy is made up of vocalist / frontman Keith Flint, vocalist / rapper Maxim and keyboardist / synth / guitarist Liam Howlett. Their style is broadly electronica, but at times overlaps with big beats and dance music. There are plenty of techno remixes of Proidigy songs out there!

My favourite albums from The Prodigy are their older albums – especially “Fat of the Land” and “Invaders Must Die” . I made my recent ticket purchase as a last minute splurge – for I don’t count myself among their most die-hard fans BUT would relish the chance to see them play live, in a world where you don’t always get second chances to see bands play live in your own hometown. Pre-show, the crowd was warmed up by DJs Enschway and Shockone – who played some slamming tunes with heavy beats to get the crowd pumped for the epic performance to come. I particularly enjoyed the throwbacks to 90’s songs by Enschway, and when Shockone mixed in some psytrance into one of his new songs, it was fantastic. Everyone felt energized after their sets.

 I felt electrified when The Prodigy opened the show with bass heavy, chart topping “Breathe”! It made me so happy to watch the song live and dance along. Frontman Keith Flint looks pretty much exactly the same as he did in the band’s early days – still with a menacing stance and glare that the audience lapped up. All the iconic songs by The Prodigy that you know and love were played live along with my new favourites from “No Tourists” called “We Live Forever” and “Light Up the Sky” which were upbeat, uplifting songs. There were plenty of opportunities for audience members to get their hands in the air, and as soon as The Prodigy started, people couldn’t stop moving and dancing to their deep beats.

 The audience itself was a fair mix of people – there were expats from the UK that the band gave a shout out to; punks in tartan with all manners of hair spikes and mohawks; to people in their mid forties upwards with grey patches starting to appear in their hair. Such is the appeal of The Prodigy. Repeatedly, band member and rapping vocalist Maxim would thank and give respect to the audience for attending, which surprised me – as I’m used to acting the other way around and being super thankful for a band adding my hometown to their visit list.

I’ll admit that at times I’m hesitant to fork out money to see bands play stadium shows – I’ve been burned in the past, paying to see a show from a band who played none of their ‘old stuff’ (which was my fave stuff) and social media is littered with stories of performances and venues with bad concert audio. I’m so glad I put all that aside to see The Prodigy. Their finale of the evening was an old club anthem that I assumed wouldn’t get played, but I was delighted to my core when the band prompted the sound desk to turn the volume way up for their synth / base heavy “Smack my Bitch up”. The crowd went wild and we simply wished the night wouldn’t end. Everyone left on a high with a smile on their face.

If members of The Prodigy happen to stumble across this humble blog: please return to Melbourne – we love you! Your music excites so many and we sure love to dance.

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Peter Pan Goes WRONG

 From the same team that brought audiences ‘The Play that Goes Wrong”, for this production they took a similar concept, made it PG rated within the beloved story of Peter Pan. This show was full of laughs and surprises from the moment you take your seats until some time after the show has officially ended! I had missed out on seeing “The Play that Goes Wrong” (clearly a mistake on my part!) so I was determined not to miss out on this production – especially as “Peter Pan” is one of my favourite stories from childhood. With a theatre buddy at my side, we reached our seats only to be bombarded by a cacophony of action happening in the theatre pre-show. This madcap start of the show contributed to set the expectations of the evening of theatre before us.

To describe each bit of comedy / scene mishap that occurs during the show would a) make this review like a thesis and b) ensure no one would be interested to see a future production so I will try to keep this review (fairly) brief. Of course, the production features all of your favourite characters from the Peter Pan story: the Darling Children and parents, Nana the dog, Peter Pan and his lost boys, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook and his pirates as well as a cast of other humanoid animals and mermaids etc. The show is easy to follow, with act signs and story progression.

When people ask me what the show was like in general, there’s one scene I refer to: Nana the dog’s first appearance onstage. There we were, watching an adult man in a dog costume receive belly rubs and pats from other adults (dressed as the Darling children); and then Nana gets stuck in her doggy door on the way out of the scene! This sets the tone of the style of humour in the show – slapstick / physical comedy which was ridiculous at times, and cleverly scripted and rehearsed at others. I also enjoyed the stories of people behind the scenes of the production (that the audience are privy to via some of the characters) – like the co-director(Robert Grove)’s audition tapes and what happened during their previous productions. That helped to bring extra dimensions and wider stories to the show, so the audience felt like they really were seeing a play put on by the (fictional) Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society.

In terms of the comedy, most of it is broadly under the banners of physical comedy / verbal /slapstick and prop comedy, with some mime thrown into the mix. Audience participation is encouraged, which enhanced the pantomime nature of the show  – much to the chagrin of Captain Hook (which just made us all laugh harder!) At many points during the show I heard people laugh until they snort, and I also witnessed children laughing, pointing and shouting with glee. It was clear that some audience members had seen this show (or its predecessor) multiple times as they seemed to know exactly what to say to the actors (and when to say it!).

If you ever come across this show (or one from the same franchise) my top tips would be to get to the theatre early and also purchase the program. The story and background to the whole show and the “company” (Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society) that puts on the play is well covered and extended via the program so I can’t recommend that enough!

Peter Pan and crew have now flown back to Neverland, however if you do have the chance to see this show then DO NOT HESITATE to get tickets! It really is a thigh slapping, ‘laugh til you cry’ kinda show…a kind of show I think we all need to see at some point.