Michael Jackson at the Gates of Heaven and Hell, Underbelly
Monday 24 August 2009
A mere eight weeks have passed since the demise of Michael Jackson and here, inevitably, comes the Fringe's response. Put together with what could be considered indecent haste, this play about the King of Pop's adventures in the afterlife turns out to be a surprisingly polished affair.
With a cast of characters far outstripping the congregation at Jackson's star-studded funeral in Los Angeles - John Lennon, Princess Diana, Mariah Carey, Bubbles and, of course, God and his Antipodean surfer son Jesus all put in an appearance – Charlie Brafman's play catches up with Jackson as he waits in purgatory for his final judgement.
It's less a drama than a series of sketches about death and celebrity. Even in heaven, it seems, people can get starstruck by Jackson, voted by angels as "the living person they would most like to see die", while his fate – eternal bliss or eternal damnation – is at the mercy of a phone vote on the vacuous "H.E.N." (Heaven Entertainment News).
You won't discover anything new about Jacko here (played with a chalky complexion and baby voice by Michael Edwards) but the young cast perform their multiple roles with vigour and admirable silliness.
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