The advisory from Rod Laver Arena last night for Katy Perry’s Prismatic tour is that, well, the kids are alright.The parents (mostly mothers) who filled half the stadium might have nursed some trepidation that Perry might expose the seven to 14 year old girls who filled the other half of the audience to hyper-sexualised posturing from a pop diva. If so, they wouldn’t have been more mistaken.
Perry’s two-hour, ten-minute straight through show is as relentlessly busy and as generously entertaining as it is chaste.
The American pop singer is like a friendly, but firm sports teacher leading a pack of ten athletic and exuberant male and female dancers. When her dance team are not dangling from aerial trapezes, operating a mechanical life size horse (just like the one you saw in War Horse, only gold) or grooving down a catwalk in an inflatable convertible, they are efficiently scurrying over the massive set (dominated by a projection of a prism) and deploying oversized props.
The show is nothing if not innocent fun. From its opening number Roar and on to an Egyptian themed set (Dark Horse, E.T, Legendary Lovers, I Kissed a Girl) all prism-themed stage conceits are then thrown aside.
The rest of the show is made up of elaborate set pieces that have nothing in common other than Perry’s likeable and respectably sung pop songs and an ambition to fill the stadium with as much colour, light, and cute effects as possible. The girls went wild for it.
And no wonder. Giant inflatables of hand bags, lip stick and what looked like a taco floated from the roof. A projection of cats shopping on Rodeo Drive and surfing in Hawaii filled the massive back screen; two of the five (all male) band are hoisted above the stage for aerial battle with their spark-spewing instruments, and the final number Firework is accompanied by some spectacular lighting effects.
The show became its most surreal in the Katy-cat sequence. Perry and her dancers dressed as cats climb giant scratching posts for Hot n Cold (aka the Masterchef theme) then move down a motorized catwalk to Madonna’s Vogue. Never before –I’m pretty sure — has Vogue been choreographed with dancers dressed as a carton of skim milk, a fishbowl and an oversized can of sardines.
The show’s friendliness is delivered by Perry’s extended monologues. From the “I love Melbourne, you are so chilled!” to her attempted Oz accent “Thanks heaps!” to her self-deprecating “Thank you for still liking me”, to plucking a nine year-old from the audience and getting down on her haunches to interview him about school — she is as nice and approachable as a pretty kids’ television host.
What’s not to like?
Related story: When Katy visited Melbourne’s Malthouse