Any show that has lasted nearly half a decade on the same stage deserves a round of applause in and of itself, without even having to enter the theatre in the first place. Thriller Live- the celebration of the great King of Pop, Michael Jackson, is a show to behold. Upon entering the bedazzled auditorium, it’s clear to me that this isn’t like most other productions I’ve seen before – people are bustling with excitement, humming famous Jackson songs left, right and centre- some even going as far to dress up as Jackson himself, donning the famous silver glove that later became one of the many iconic wardrobes of the pop sensation.
This 2000th show, we’re warned – once the lights go down and the stage comes alive with illumination – is unlike any other performance they’ve done before today. We’re given a short history lesson of Jackson’s life, and then the magic really starts happening. Their audience is still whooping and hollering at the presenters on stage, and, to my surprise, continue to do so throughout the entire musical. The performers groove into their first number, and the crowd go crazy (even more so than before, would you believe), whistling and screaming in excitement. The young men on stage do nothing less than utterly dazzle everyone, bringing to life songs that the majority of their audience will have never seen these numbers performed like this before. It is at this point that I realize that the next two and a half hours of my life are going to be a flurry of dancing and hectic audience participation too, and I should abandon the thought that it will be any less lively than it already is – one number in. The next performance – and the rest that supersede it – is a phenomenal, standing-ovation-worthy feat of epic proportions, with dancers – and singers – re-defining the finite meaning of performance.
However, it cannot be denied that a show like this will only attract a certain type of theatre-goer. Jukebox musicals such as Thriller Live are not everyone’s cup of tea, and although these performers were nothing short of sensational, I had gone in with expectations of a biopic of sorts of Michael Jackson’s life, and was instead disconcerted to discover that it was little more than a glorified tribute act to one of the most glorified artists of all time. This, for me, had the show falling on slightly deaf ears, as I do not consider myself to be a part of the niche audience that Thriller Live seems to entrance show after show after show.
It is indisputable to deny that each song that these performers bring to our insatiable senses is a unique spectacle of awe-striking insanity. Song after song, people are brought to their feet, dancing and singing along with the formidable vocalists, with arms flailing – and behinds shaking. I was blown away by the calibre of their inconceivable brilliance, and congratulate this ineffable group of people for bringing such an indelible homage to such an indelible man for 2000 performances.
- By Adrian Grant
- Directed by Gary Lloyd
- Lyric Theatre
- Until 28th September 2014
- Time: Tuesday to Friday -19:30, Saturday - 16:00 and 20:00, Sunday - 15:30 and 19:30
- Review by Hannah Ross
- 24th October 2013