A saucy new show takes cruise entertainment to a surprising new level
The gyrating girl in the skimpy pink latex costume, who just seconds earlier was determinedly swallowing a very, very long balloon, plonks herself next to me with a big smile on her face.
The action on stage in front of us hasn’t stopped, in fact right now a bloke in a similarly skimpy ensemble seems to be juggling, yes juggling, three life-size, blow-up female sexdolls but my new friend still seems happy to stay for a brief visit.
Before I’ve even had time to make sure she doesn’t spill my generously mixed Tom Collins, she’s gone in a raucous scream of enthusiasm and elastic limbs, back into the throng of semi-nakedness and innuendo.
As I look around, just to reassure myself I haven’t accidentally stumbled into Baz Luhrmann’s bucks party, I realise two things:
1. Latex is not as sexy up close as you think it’s going to be.
2. And cruise ship entertainment has gone to a whole new level.
When you book a cruise and think entertainment options, you’re probably mulling over piano bar cover hits, pre-dinner jazz, sit-down comedy, an Adele impersonator, karaoke, acoustic sounds in the Ocean Bar, pub quizzes and the bloke who came seventh in season 12 of The Voice. They’re not the Rolling Stones but they’ll do the job for a holiday at sea.
And don’t worry, you get all them and more on board the rebranded
Pacific Explorer, newly refurbed from
its past as the Dawn Princess.
What you probably don’t think of is
Love Riot, a lewd and rude arty extravaganza of dizzying circus acrobatics and cheeky puns that would be quite at home on stage at the Opera House or an inner-city backstreet theatre.
The risque show, with its saucy humour and stylised choreography, is part of P&O’s bid to stand out in the ever-expanding world of cruising, where what you can offer that sets you apart is now the main game.
High-end entertainment, for which you may have to pay a little extra, and with high-end food options, are being used to lure more non-cruisers, while giving the established veterans something different. Think high culture on the high seas.
“Love Riot is like no other entertainment at sea and is more in keeping with the spectacular aerial circus artistry found at major festivals around the world,” P&O Cruises’ director of entertainment Brett Annable explains.
“We wanted to challenge the conventional production shows found on cruise ships and offer our guests a hilarious, high-energy premium experience that would really get people talking.”
The brainchild of Australian director Scott Maidment, the man behind the Opera House circus spectacle Blanc de Blanc, the show is a jumble of performers and contortionists dangling from silk sheets and trapezes, unicycling through the audience and pulling off what can safely be described as aweinspiring acts. Plus added sauciness.
“I’ve directed shows in Budapest, London, Bogota and Singapore but never before for a cruise ship. My latest venture was about giving the P&O audience an unexpected experience they will remember long after their holiday,” Maidment said.
While the show is an undeniably memorable part of our South Pacific cruise, and in my opinion a great laugh, the real question for holidaymakers is should it influence your decision to go on a cruise in the first place and, if your mind is already made up, should it sway your choice of cruise?
Well, first you need to be aware that it does cost a little extra. It’s $10 for general entry (which includes a welcome cocktail and souvenir glass) or $29 for a VIP ticket, which gets you a five-course dinner before the show and priority seating in the front rows.
For the higher price, you’ll even be
escorted to the show by its stars, who come and get you in all their PVC and stiletto-clad glory when you’ve finished dinner.
They’re carrying megaphones, whistles and yelling a lot so it does feel a little bit like going from a nice restaurant to a birthday party for a five-year-old – noisy, a bit of a shock but generally good fun.
Second, the over-the-top raunchy element won’t float everyone’s boat.
It will simply be too risque and a bit too cheeky for some. As I said though, there are plenty of other options on offer if that’s the case.
But for most, the humour, skill and general sense of fun will be a worthy and wonderful addition to their cruise experience.
The bottom line, fairly apt on this occasion, is that this is something you just won’t find elsewhere on the high seas. It’s a unique entertainment experience which you’ll remember for years to come.
And this, in my view, is just what a holiday should offer up.
So well done P&O for taking a risk and going beyond the norm. In this instance it works a treat. So go on, put
Love Riot on the positive side of your pros and cons, strap in for the ride and enjoy the latex and laughs.
It really is a riot.
Just in case you were wondering, I got the chance to talk to my temporary Love Riot friend, Miss PVC, after the show and delicately asked her to divulge the trick to the balloonswallowing act.
Unfortunately, she wouldn’t cough it up (and yes, I am considering a new life as a cruise ship comedian).
A sexy arty extravaganza promises P&O audiences a memorable experience; and there’s plenty more to like aboard the rebranded Pacific Explorer (right).