A celebration of Michael Jackson - Thriller Live at The Lyric Theatre

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Posted by May B on Wednesday 28th of January 2015

I admit that a cold virus, the chilly weather and my general dislike for tribute acts meant I was reluctant to go along to see Thriller Live which is now in its seventh year. But I’m so glad that I did. I left the theatre with a broad smile on my face, humming some of the tunes and fired up with a spring in my step.

The show starts gently with some Jackson Five Motown numbers (including “I want you back” and “ABC”) and the young lead did good. The sound of my youth (remember flares and afros?) yet still powerful today. “I’ll be there” was quite moving and I swear that my companion shed a quiet tear.

Then we moved into the disco era and I was particularly impressed with “Let me show you the way to go”. “Blame it on the boogie” was a sure-fire crowd pleaser. The glitter, graffiti and sparkle quotient ramped up, some enthusiastic audience participation and solos from the band ensured that we were drawn into the fun. “Dangerous” gave us the first glimpse of that iconic white suit, the hat, the glove and moondancing.

There were several numbers from “Off the wall” with street and Studio 54 scenes from New York and the vibe became more edgy as the dancers did some impressive breakdancing. The fight scenes from “Thriller” and “Bad” evoked memories of the 1980s but ballads (“I just can’t stop loving you” and “The way you make me feel”) were woven in skilfully to add texture.

“Dirty Diana” was somewhat raunchy and “Man in the mirror”, “They don’t care about us” and “Earth song” were performed beautifully with real feeling by the entire cast. And finally we all joined in with “Thriller”, “Billie Jean” and “Bad”. We were at fever pitch by the end.

The set is a simple construction with side staircases, an elevated platform over the top and the band tucked away at the back. But the way that video clips, iconic stills, amazing graphics and stunning light shows – as well as some pyrotechnics – combined was incredible. The set designers and lighting engineers deserve an award.

What struck me was that it took several good lead singers and a couple of dancers to cover the incredible range of the King of Pop. His music dominated so many years and remains firmly in the hearts and minds of several generations. It is enduring and indelible. Whilst the show’s appeal to Michael Jackson fans is guaranteed, its energy, youthfulness and passion is likely to win over most folk. Whether I was looking to entertain eight or eighty year olds – this show would do the trick.

There were a few cast members that deserve a special mention. On the vocals I thought that Cleopatra Higgins (who could pass as a Diana Ross lookalike) was excellent – it can’t be easy as a female covering MJ songs but she pulled it off. John Moabi sounded just like him – as did Jesse Smith (who managed to preserve his rock persona while doing so). Then there was David Jordan who looked uncannily like MJ himself – and managed to dance convincingly like the great man. And there was a dancer Chloe Ferns who, despite her diminutive size, managed to dominate the stage with her energy and passion every time she appeared.

Further information: http://thrillerlive.com/west-end/


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