Thriller Live theatre review (UK Tour): an ambitious show case of the hits of Michael Jackson, but can it live up to the high standards of the King of Pop?

Thriller Live theatre review (UK Tour) by Katey Thompson.

Thriller Live theatre review
Thriller Live theatre review

From the start the show invites you to relive the decades of music that Michael Jackson bought to the world. His influence is undoubted from his early days in the Jacksons, through to his early death in 2009, he was truly a legend of our time and many of us grew up listening to his hits or copying his dance moves. The difference here is that we have a cast who are the top performers and mimics of Michael Jackson’s unique style. The large cast put a huge amount of energy and precision into making you believe you are actually at a Jackson show, and the result is mostly impressive.

The opening songs were a taster of his hits across the decades. Unfortunately, this felt slightly disjointed and although the songs were good, the narrative didn’t quite tie all of the songs together.

This meant that the first half was a little disappointing, but it did improve during the second. The lead performers in the show each have their own look and style of Michael Jackson throughout his different eras.

The costumes worn by the stars seemed not often match up to the song, such as the song ‘She’s Out Of My Life’ from the ‘Off the Wall’ album, being performed in a Dangerous era outfit, but they were all reflective of the outfits that Michael Jackson has worn for his stage shows. The outfits for Thriller were suitably macabre, recreating the video for the song brilliantly.

The sound of the show was good, and even opening night glitches could almost be forgiven. The vocals just need to stand out more, as the performers were struggling sometimes to break through a heavy bass, and I really expected more impact from the singers, but was not totally blown away.

There was, however, definitely the feel of a party, especially when the entire audience was up on their feet for ‘ABC’, ‘Shake Your Body’ and for the final encore of his greatest hits. The less than packed crowd did respond with notable enthusiasm for the show which was great to see.

Overall, Thriller Live does meet hopes for an entertaining spectacle, which showcases the best of Michael Jackson’s music. The show needs a little more authenticity, and less pastiche to truly stand out again; the first half needs a refresh, but the second came back with a bang with all the top hits.

Thriller Live theatre review (UK Tour) by Katey Thompson, July 2018.

Thriller Live plays at the New Victoria Theatre until the 7th July.

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Thriller Live!