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Fast and Furious Live at The O2 Arena – Review

Fast and FuriousA notice appears on the large LED screen before the show, almost like the health warning that appears before a party political broadcast on television, describing Fast & Furious Live as ‘adrenaline-fuelled’, adding it is ‘packed with live stunts and excitement’. It’s better to be forewarned than not, I suppose, but for all the razzmatazz and big-budget special effects put into this production, it doesn’t leave the audience as amazed as it could have.

It’s clear, however, that much thought has gone into this production, and it’s so meticulous nothing goes wrong. That itself is quite an achievement. This is not a monster truck show where a vehicle fails to do a backflip and must try again (there are some hilarious videos on YouTube and elsewhere of stunts gone wrong). In its polished professionalism, every vehicle in what the programme describes as ‘Cirque du Soleil with cars’ does precisely what it is supposed to do. But there’s some indication of human fallibility even in Cirque, where someone doesn’t, for instance, make it to the top of an already absurdly high human pyramid at the first attempt.

Fast? Well, only with the use of two types of CGI at the same time – computer generated imagery and collective group imagination. The special effects and projections are, to be fair, extremely well done. But the vehicles themselves move rather beautifully, in the production’s closest thing to choreography in the production’s closest thing to a big ensemble musical theatre number. Perhaps they move a little too beautifully, leaving the ‘furious’ element of the show somewhat suppressed – any notion of anger or stress-induced frenetic activity had disappeared with two cars ‘floating’ on ‘clouds’ with the serenity that such a journey (if you can picture it) would be reasonably expected to produce.

There is, at least, precision, but even in the large arena space, there is only so much room to manoeuvre. There’s a storyline, with Sofia Diaz (Elysia Wren) and James Dawson (Mark Ebulué), respectively a ‘street racer’ and an ‘intelligence agent’ – it would appear a ‘spy’ isn’t called a spy anymore – taking the audience through a good versus evil journey. Having a plot (of sorts) helps to a certain extent to engage the audience, but I got the feeling there were people in this opening night audience who were wanting to see more car stunts, patiently waiting for the dialogue to finish so the show can get back to the so-called “real action”.

The recreation of certain scenes from the motion picture series is credible, and in parts, incredible at that. The scenes get, generally speaking, progressively more absorbing. The show breaks the audience in gently, and a few members of the audience decided to walk out fairly early on in proceedings. At this point, the production seemed to shout, ‘Okay, now they’ve gone, let’s take this show up several levels!’ Of course, a show like this is going to save the best for last, and the finale scene was, to be fair, pretty spectacular.

The lighting, too, was imaginative, though the audience participation (absolutely not compulsory, no matter what Diaz and Dawson say) was a little too contrived for my liking, although I hasten to add that much of the audience played their part with gusto. The whole thing is real enough for The O2 Arena to smell like a petrol station forecourt well before the interval. Certainly a unique experience, Fast & Furious Live demonstrates what theatre can do these days when equipped with the latest technology and a large enough budget. But lots of money doesn’t necessarily translate into great storytelling.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

The adrenaline-fueled, two-hour show is set to be the most spectacular live arena production ever produced, featuring precision performance driving and newly created physics-defying stunts. Using favourite cars and locations that criss-cross the globe along with key scenes from the film series – created via state-of-the-art 3D projection mapping – fans will be transported straight into this immersive extension of the Fast & Furious movies.

Audiences will feel the heat from flaming exhausts and marvel at vehicular acrobatics as scene after scene unfolds enhanced by the most advanced digital projection technology imaginable. Featuring several original cars from the films, as well as exact replicas of fan favourites — from Dom’s legendary Dodge Charger to the flip car from Fast & Furious 6, Fast & Furious Live will evoke some of the boldest moments from the franchise.

20th-21st January 2018
The O2 Arena

Fast & Furious 8-Film Collection (1-8 Boxset) BD + digital download [Blu-ray] [2017] [Region Free]


12 thoughts on “Fast and Furious Live at The O2 Arena – Review”

  1. Did not Live up to expectations. The digital special effects were ok. Nothing spectacular with the cars.

    Total let down, polluted arena.

  2. One of the worst things I’ve ever watched! Just a load of cars driving around in circles…..no excitement!

  3. What a waste of money! I nearly fell asleep, the 02 arena and staff are terrible, parking was a complete joke, being changed £34 for 2 hours! Completely gutted, I had been looking forward to this show for ages!

  4. Just don’t bother, I read the paper during the first half and left at the interval it was the worst thing I have ever bothered to go and see. Had no arguements from sons or husband about leaving early either. Only good bit the cars covered in LEDs

  5. Pretty poor show, expected so much more, just very boring our son liked it but he’s 7! So easily impressed

  6. What a total disappointment – I would suggest the producers of this ‘show’ go and see the Disney car stunt shows in France or Florida. My 13 year old finds his grandmothers stunts more impressive! We too left early – should have spent the £100 on a nice Sunday roast. The final technical failure prompted our early escape!

  7. I loved it! I though the cinematic was great, stunts performed well and fabulous seeing the cars from the films. Audience participation was a bit pants…. but it was set to be an arena retake of the film and if your expectations were realistic – it met it’s objective.

  8. I went to the o2 on Saturday to watch this show (yesterday) and I left at half time.
    It was very kiddish, cars just went in circles, you can’t hear the engines roaring due to the high volume of sound.
    Lots of lighting and talking throughout.
    Unfortunately, quite a few people were walking out with us who were all so very disappointed.

  9. You would have to worry about anyone over the age of 10 who would want to go and watch this in the first place, unless you are of course a parent. Our kids loved it 9, 7 and 5. With expectations of what you can achieve in an arena and the effort in terms of production and special effects this is actually a great show. If you want fast cars racing, then I suggest and go to a erm…. race track.

  10. First time i have ever left an event early to beat the queues. Almost fell asleep at one point, fast and furious, it is not! So when partner & child suggested an early exit, i had no qualms.. A ridiculous commentary throughout by a couple of well-meaning actors and the worst audience participation you are likely to see outside of a kid’s party, not to mention the high octane stunts performed at barely 5mph against a back drop of CGI. So a waste of money and a Saturday afternoon, although during one section, the cars were lit up with changing LEDs, whilst driving in formation, which was pretty cool, but again, painfully slow :-/

  11. Went to see it on Saturday night I really loved it and so did all those that were around me….. loved the led cars and the submarine ….the audience participation was good fun ….came in by train from Sussex really easy …the actors / narrators did well and Sophia ..wow ..stunning …so on the whole had a good night seated at the side good view

  12. We went to the premier on Friday, I’m not sure what I expected but I would say it was a mix of random, funny and brilliant. Anyone who expected the cars to actually be able to drive at speed through the O2 is lacking in common sense, and under appreciate the manoeuvres that the stunt drivers pulled off.

    It could have done with slightly less talking but on the whole, it was entertaining. We were quite high up so had a great view of everything that was happening on the floor which was impressive itself.

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