Review: Kylie and Jason reunite to put the Eighties magic back in Christmas at Hit Factory Live

3.00

Cool isn’t really what it’s about when you come to see this show

It’s pure chance that last night’s anniversary tribute to the 1980s pop-production powerhouse Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) is happening just before Christmas – it was originally scheduled for Hyde Park in July, but mud stopped play and ruined a long-awaited Kylie & Jason reunion.

The new timing couldn’t be better, though – the mushy lovesickness, spangly keys and rum-pum-pumming Linn drums of the SAW sound are a perfect fit for the festive season. Before we get to the really tinselly bits, though, we’re reminded of last night’s host Pete Waterman’s club roots as a Hi-NRG producer by Dutch technopop cyber warriors 2 Unlimited, whose era-defining “Get Ready for This” and “No Limits” still sound gloriously, perfectly brainless and demented. Clad in silver lamé, abetted by shiny muscled dancers, it is camp as Christmas.

And that’s before Sinitta gets paraded around the stage on the shoulders of a horde of generic hunks while belting out “So Macho”.

There are some lulls – ex-Capital Radio DJs Pat Sharp and Mick Brown reprising their PWL charity cover of “Use It Up and Wear It Out” brings the magic level down to critical – and the pace at which the acts are rattled through can make things feel a bit cheap: you have to feel a bit sorry for the likes of Brother Beyond’s Nathan Moore, wheeled out for just one song. But at its musical best, tonight hits  the peaks with Pete Burns of Dead or Alive, who brings a powerful hit of much-needed charisma in contrast to the later and lesser PWL acts. Commonly thought of as a one-hit wonder, the likes of the romping “My Heart Goes Bang” and the Sisters-of-Mercy-sing-New-Order vibes of “Something in My House” prove a much greater strength.

Then there’s Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin of Bananarama, who may look Desperate Housewives-sleek, but they’re the cheekiest of the bunch, commenting archly: “As you’ve noticed, we haven’t varied the routines too much… we’ve just dropped a few bits out because we can’t be bothered.” “Love in the First Degree” is pure innocent, fizzy pleasure; Girls Aloud wish they were that cool.

Cool isn’t really what it’s about tonight, though – the biggest reactions are reserved for Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” and Jason Donovan’s “Too Many Broken Hearts” and Steps, who bring a different, Pontinsy sort of camp. By this point, things are properly bubbling, the atmosphere initially having been a little stilted by an all-seated-arena set-up.

When the evening closes with that long, long-awaited Kylie & Jason duet, the presence of the one genuine SAW megastar, rather than overshadowing the rest, crowns the night (though we’re disappointed there’s none of her own SAW hits). The mass sing-/swayalong for “Especially for You”, undeniably very sweet, is followed by a full-cast cover of Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody”, Kylie happily bobbing about with Waterman himself before the Hit Factory clocks off for Christmas. Job mostly well done.

Hit Factory Live, O2, London

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea