With the recent passing of Michael Jackson, there can be no doubt that Thriller Live, which was playing in London’s West End before his untimely death, is raking it in on the back of current events. The show has been playing in the West End since the start of 2009, and is soon to embark on a UK Arena tour (with a new cast, as the West End show will remain at the Lyric).
The premise is, in retrospect, simple… no story line, just a group of singers and dancers singing the songs of the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson. There is a loose time-line to the production, with an encore that goes back revisits all of the ‘classics’ missed during the main body.
I found it slightly confusing at first, but once I figured that it was just people in character but not appearing as a character (confused too?!) singing songs, I just gave up, stopped trying to work it out, and enjoyed myself.
The vocals, for me, disappointed. I had expected more as Maria Lawson was fabulous in X-Factor a few years ago, and Roger Wright received rave reviews when he opened as Adult Simba in Julie Taymor’s The Lion King back in the late 90’s.
Ricko Baird’s dance skills were the star of the show (he has previously worked with MJ himself), whilst John Moabi definitely had the strongest vocal of the night.
Song wise, most of the greats are in the production, along with a few that I wasn’t too keen on (my mind wandered during these). Act II is definitely much stronger than Act I.
I have to say, here and now, that Smooth Criminal was one of my favourite moments I have ever spent in a theatre, the feeling when they pulled off the moonwalk and the tilt, wow! Absolutely electric!
All in all, if you fancy hearing people sing many of Jacko’s great songs, with some fairly cute dancer boys (and girls) thrown in, then this production will not offend and prove an enjoyable way to spend 2 hrs 45 mins (we got out at 22:15 from a 19:30 start).