Macao is undoubtedly a renowned hub for gambling and glamour, however, the city has a lot more to offer the discerning traveller. With a slew of cultural events and shows, Macao is turning up its entertainment quotient to mesmerise tourists.
Bright lights and flashy casinos have become symbolic of Macao. However, Macao is not just about clubs and bars; with endless number of historical and cultural entertainment options, the city-state will leave you surprised and hankering for more.
Who isn’t fond of Michael Jackson’s timeless songs or signature dance moves? When in Macao, you can experience the legend perform in front of you once again with striking dance routines and special effects. Thriller Live, a theatrical concert in The Parisian Macao pays tribute to Michael Jackson in its 90-minute explosion of pop, rock and disco that will take you on an audio-visual journey. With Jackson’s songs, including I Want You Back, Man in the Mirror, Black or White, The Way You Make Me Feel, Smooth Criminal, Beat It and Thriller amongst many more, the show is perfectly rendered by an exceptionally talented cast. Though Thriller Live used to run before Michael Jackson’s demise, it remains the most cherished tribute to his career.
Another exhibit with poetic light effects, choreography, music and colourful costumes is the Monkey King in Sands Cotai Theatre. One of the most famous stories told in Chinese mythology and one of the most dynamic in world literature, the Monkey King (popularly known as ‘A Journey to the West’) is based on the story of the famous monk Xuan Zang of the Tang Dynasty, who is regarded as one of the great Chinese legends.
With a blend of Chinese elements including dance, acrobats, drama, martial arts and magic, the show features the latest three-dimensional (3D) effects, LED projections, video mapping and full surround sound.
Of music, lights and water
Imagine a 3.7 million-gallon pool in the centre of a theatre, with 11 automated stage lifts creating a pool deep enough for a diver to leap from a 24-metre-high platform.
For the people who wish to experience thrill from every perspective, The House of Dancing Water, at Performing Arts Theatre in Cotai, Macao, is the one to see. With a 270-degree view theatre, the show zooms onto the performers from a special angle at C Reserve, gets up close and personal at B Reserve, and provides a panoramic view at A Reserve. Housed in a purpose-built theatre, this ultra-modern theatre provides the setting for an epic love story that begins on the coast of Coloane where a fisherman meets a young stranger who survived a terrible shipwreck and together, they enter a magical kingdom. Without hesitation, both join forces to fight against the dark queen and rescue a princess.
The water-based stage production written and directed by Franco Dragone – renowned for inventing a new genre in the 1980’s and 90’s, runs for 90 minutes, and features over 80 gymnasts, circus artists, dancers, divers, actors, and motorcyclists from Thursdays to Mondays.
Light and Water Show at the Performance Lake – located in the open area in front of Wynn – is another show featuring water and fire acts, where performers dance through the air to the tunes of classical and popular music plus hit show tunes from Broadway.
The lake houses more than 200 water shooters capable of projecting 800,000 gallons of water into the air, expressing a symphony of moods, rhythms and emotions. Each show lasts approximately for three minutes and runs alternately at an interval of 15 minutes. For an extra dose of entertainment, Dragon of Fortune in Rua Cidade de Sintra, Wynn, symbolises good fortune and well being, while dramatically combining traditional sculptural art, lighting and audio enhancements. The Dragon – emerging from a rolling mist and rising to a height of 28 feet – features an animated head complete with glowing eyes and smoke billowing from its nostrils. To conclude the four minutes show, a beautiful lotus blossom opens some 12 feet in diameter to produce an awe-inspiring crystal light effect.
There is a special treat for comic book fans, especially ones into DC Comics. Magnified with latest inflight simulation technology, audio design and visual graphics, Batman Dark Flight at Studio City takes you to a new dimension of super-heroic entertainment. This multi-sensory, action-packed ride throws you among all of Batman’s heart stopping encounters as he combats the terror of Gotham City’s super villains.
As an integral part of the storyline, you join Batman as he battles through explosive action and gunfire on the streets of Gotham City – facing his arch nemesis The Joker, and other Gotham villains Two-Face and Bane, who are predictably out to inflict damage and destruction.
Moving away from action, for the love of illusions and tricks, the House of Magic is a premier performance venue for magicians from across the globe designed by Franz Harary – an acclaimed illusionist. Running for about 90 minutes at Studio City, Cotai, a range of shows including Harary’s spectacular resident show and Mega Magic, takes visitors on an amazing journey.
However, not just inside theatres or complexes but entertainment in Macao can be found everywhere – even on the streets. For instance, the Live Music Association is the go-to place for some Indie music hosting local and overseas acts, including Cold Cave, Buddhistson, Mio Myo and Pet Conspiracy.
When talking about entertainment streets in Macao, every weekend, artists at St. Lazarus Church District set up shop on the picturesque Rua de Sao Roque, selling art and handicrafts. Just get yourself a drink from a nearby cafe and sip it as you enjoy the live music.
Bonus: If you happen to be in the country during September, the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest is an experience to cherish. Witness the night sky burst into a pool of fireworks. Just sit back and enjoy as countries including Portugal, China and Switzerland compete against each other for the trophy. Held annually, the fireworks display can be viewed from many spot on the Macao Peninsula and the Taipa Island, including the Macao Tower.