Thriller Live is one of the longest running shows in the West End, it has toured extensively delighting national and international audiences and with global box office takings of a staggering £150million, Thriller Live has made it’s mark in history and one of the most successful shows of all time.
Despite all this, Thriller Live has recently had a makeover, boasting new songs, videos, costumes and special effects, so it was time for me to pop over to the Lyric Theatre and see what all the fuss is about.
Up until now I had resisted seeing the show as I am not a huge fan of jukebox musicals, however I am not sure this can be classed as a musical at all. Although Thriller Live features the songs of Michael Jackson there is no story or plotline, it is more an extravagantly executed concert celebrating Michael Jackson’s work.
A string of iconic Michael Jackson classics are performed by five main vocalists. The audience are taken through Jackson’s huge back catalogue of songs starting with the early years of the Jackson 5, this was the highlight of the show for me, with young Eshan Gopal taking to the stage as the young MJ like duck to water. His stage presence, dance moves and pitch perfect vocals were first rate.
Directed and choreographed by Gary Lloyd, the company of dancers move energetically round the stage to a constant backdrop of colourful lights and special effects, expertly led by a Michael Jackson lookalike-dancealike called ‘Dajiow’ who mimics Jackson to perfection.
Hit after hit are performed; each one recognisable and gets the feet tapping, by the second act you eagerly anticipate Earth Song and can’t wait for them to bring on the dancing zombies!
Interestingly I couldn’t help comparing Thriller Live to the production of Pure Imagination seen the week before. Both shows celebrate incredible songwriters but in very different ways, Pure Imagination with simplicity and beauty whereas Thriller Live with spectacular showiness and pizzazz.
The show was extremely well received by the audience at the Lyric Theatre however much as I appreciate the worldwide appeal of Thriller Live alas this wasn’t the show for me. I enjoy Michael Jackson’s music and Thriller Live is a worthy celebration, but I am afraid that I would sooner watch footage of the real thing in front of the TV.
Reviewer: Sammi O’Neill