Situated on the tenth floor of the New World Building in the central, bustling People's Square, and spread across ten themed rooms, the Shanghai branch of the world-renowned wax museum adds some Asian flavour to the classic brand, with personalities such as sportsman Yao Ming, actress Li Bing Bing and King of Cantopop Aaron Kwok appearing alongside international icons.
Mingle with business magnates Bill Gates and Li Ka at the bar of a ritzy Hollywood club, where Tom Cruise and Michelle Yeoh boogie the night away to Gaga’s ‘Pokerface’, and Madonna seems to have drunk too much Hennessy Cognac (sponsored?) in her VIP room. Then stroll past icons of science and space exploration, through the room of historical and contemporary world leaders, and past a congregation of film stars, getting dangerously close to a caged Antony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter and Bruce Lee’s furious fists.
Various toys and the occasional touch screen add an interactive dimension to the display. Head for the rock ‘n’ roll room to polish your Jackson ‘Moonwalk’, or test your disk jockey skills and rhythmic proficiency with digital turntables and a real-life drum kit. However, with the British royal family next door, it might be best to keep the noise down.
The ticket includes a visit to the Chamber of Horrors, a dungeonesque experience exposing the Mr. Hydes of the wax-work world. Although not for kids (12 years and above), it will perhaps not exactly chill adults to the bone, feeling a bit like an art school horror project.
There is no escaping that Tussauds is commercial, with product placements as well as an entire Pepsi-themed section. Still, it is not often you get the chance to rub elbows with global icons and international superstars, who, even at close scrutiny, are hard to tell apart from the genuine article.