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Is Magic Mike Live gay-friendly? Queer review of Channing Tatum show

PinkNews Staff Writer November 30, 2018
Picture of the dancers in Magic Mike Live

Is Magic Mike Live gay-friendly? Picture of the cast. (Trevor Leighton)

Magic Mike Live has opened at London’s Hippodrome Casino. A live spinoff of the popular Channing Tatum male stripper movies, the show boasts a cast of musclebound men dancing for your attention. But is it gay-friendly?

In a word, no.

A recent performance inside the Hippodrome’s 300-capacity theatre was well-attended—by 295 rowdy women and all but five men. That’s excluding the dancers, obviously.

Magic Mike Live is all about selling an erotic fantasy to cisgender, straight women. Or, rather, what men—Tatum, namely—think women want from an erotic fantasy. The narrative of this show (yes, there is a narrative!) is that an ordinary woman from Nottingham has dreamed up this platoon of dude bros to indulge her every whim, and those of some of the women in the audience, too.

Over 90 minutes, the band of #bros writhe on stage, grind on anything they can find—whether it be the floor, a chair, or even someone’s unsuspecting and mortified nan—and whip their clothes off so seamlessly that they put Kylie Minogue’s quick change skills to shame. All the while, they coo to the “special ladies” in the audience in the most heteronormative way.

It’s a shame, because Magic Mike Live could be fun for all if there was more of inclusion of different audiences reflected within the show.

The boys in Magic Mike Live are undeniably hot with their washboard abs and perfectly groomed bodies, but queer audiences might find themselves frustrated by the show’s narrow focus.

Magic Mike Live: the verdict

There is plenty of titillation in Magic Mike Live yet as male revue shows go, the likes of Briefs, another production currently in Leicester Square, offers a more diverse range of performance—and different shapes and sizes—than this one.

It’s a shame, because Magic Mike Live could be fun for all if there was more of inclusion of different audiences reflected within the show.

For what it is, though, it’s commendable that Channing Tatum has managed to turn his male stripper past into a profitable media franchise.

Magic Mike Live is at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square, London.

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