An artist renowned for his pursuit of perfection, Michael Jackson remains one of the greatest performers, if not the greatest to have ever lived. The spearhead for fairness and equality within the music industry, Michael is responsible for helping to pave the way for the MTV generation, breaking down racial barriers that had initially seen him amongst other black american artists refused airplay. It’s hard to believe that even Michael had fought for his music to be heard, considering his legendary status that we now take for granted! As you read this now, I’m sure your currently humming along to your favourite Michael Jackson song!
Never an artist to follow the crowd, Michael’s artistry always kept the worlds media and his wealth of fans on their toes as to what he would think of next. After his tragic passing in 2009, it was instantly clear just how much of an impact he had made in the worlds of music, film and dance. Therefore, what better way to acknowledge Michael’s achievements than to create a musical performance on his life’s work?
Thriller Live seeks to celebrate the icon’s most favourable hits, drawing from an impressive catalogue of show stopping albums from BAD, Off The Wall, Thriller and Dangerous. An X-factor style montage immediately stops the audience in their tracks as his multiple musical achievements are displayed for all to see. From being one of the most decorated Grammy Award winners to being one of the best selling artists of all time, there’s no doubt that Michael’s legacy will not be forgotten. The talented Elijah Crossley endearingly turns back the hands of time as he leads the Jackson 5 performances. Back to a time when Jacksonmania gripped the world, renditions of hits such as A,B,C mark the beginnings of the star’s incredible rise to fame.
Britt Quentin narrates the show, the paternal figure overlooking the performance as the audience are guided through a vivacious production of songs. Quentin, alongside Shanice Steele, Haydon Eshun, Jesse Smith and David Jordan provide the lead vocals for the entire show. The quintet represent the various aspects of Michael, from Eshun’s embodiment of funk and soul to Smith’s lyrical and intense demeanour. This is a smart concept that continually reminds the audience of just how influential an artist Michael was and still continues to be, however in practice, the concept doesn’t work as powerfully as it should do. This is mainly due to the structure of the narrative. Switching from the literal to stylised choreographed routines to drawing inspiration from Michael’s most memorable videos, the show looses its identity, never quite sure as to whether it’s a concert or a series of music video moments.
Gary Lloyd and Lauren Gore‘s choreography flitters between sparkly crowd pleasing numbers to emulating Michael Jackson routines. Performances of Smooth Criminal and Dangerous impress as the audience are presented with signature routines, bringing the essence of Michael’s precision and innovation to the fore. However, the commercialised routines far outweigh the Michael Jackson sequences, therefore missing out the main element of the performance.
The West End Band liven up the crowd with renditions of Thriller, Black or White, They Don’t Care about Us and Man in the Mirror, with the audience having no other option but to stand and dance along with the performers. Celebrating it’s 6th year on the west end, Thriller Live appears to be going from strength to strength, with fans flocking from all over the world to listen to the songs of the legendary performer. If you fancy a night out with friends or the family, and want to have a good old song and dance, then Thriller Live is for you! 3/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Thriller Live is currently showing at the Lyric Theatre. For more information on the production, visit here…