Thriller Live: Lyric Theatre, London
Reviewed on 14th January 2018
Thriller Live, now in its record breaking 10th year, is a show stopping concert created to celebrate the career of the world’s greatest entertainer. The show is designed to take the audience on a journey celebrating Michael Jackson’s 45 year musical history. Expect to experience two hours of non-stop hits from pop to rock, soul to disco. Songs include well known favourites ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Thriller‘ and many more!
This show has been running in the West End for many years. Unfortunately it shows. Whilst some of the choreography was in keeping with the legendary Michael Jackson the dances were not all performed with precision and passion. The dance routines themselves were good and made good use of the stage. The gymnastic and hip-hop sections from the male dancers went down well with the audience. All of the dancers clearly were very talented. Shakara Brown and Peter Cleverly, especially, were very good throughout the show and not only danced brilliantly but also acted the dance through their facial expressions. A lot of the numbers were executed well and were energetic and sharp. However some were a bit sloppy, lacked enthusiasm and were in much need of a clean up.
The lead vocalists were all good performers. Charlotte Berry, in particular, stood out as the lead female vocalist. The songs were performed in the typical Michael Jackson way, full of the high notes, gasps and flair. In some of the group numbers when all 4 lead vocalists shared the stage there was some lovely harmonies. It was also nice to see a wide range of Michael Jackson songs and the transitions between songs were good.
The lighting and set, by Nigel Catmur and Jonathon Park, was really effective. The use of the on stage lighting made the show feel like a high quality concert. The two level stage also added a dynamic to the stage and meant that the audience had a good view of the action. Showing the onstage band for some numbers also showed off their incredible talent. The two lead guitarists who also came on stage at certain points were excellent.
The costumes, by Shooting Flowers, were bright, colourful and fitted the songs. But some of them were cheap looking and very ill-fitting, particularly the female dance costumes. The overall show looked like it needed a revamp, much like the theatre itself.
However the most disappointing thing about the show was the use of recorded backing vocals. The dancers were lip syncing to some numbers. Why? There are so many talented musical theatre performers who could have performed that choreography and sung at the same time. It was a shame to see so much miming. What’s worse is that, unless I am mistaken, some of the lead vocals was also not live. When the audience has paid a lot of money to see a live show then that’s what they should see. In the London’s West End I would expect nothing less.
This show is certainly a must-see for any avid Michael Jackson fan. Its definitely a fantastic night out and will get your hands clapping and toes tapping along. For a tribute act, it is of high quality. But for the West End? Has Thriller had it’s day? From this performance it certainly needed tightening up and a revamp of some sort. But, saying that if you’re looking for a fun night out or are a Michael Jackson fan then this show is fantastic.
Thriller Live is booking until 30th September 2018. For more information and tickets see http://thrillerlive.com/west-end/
Photo Credit: all photo’s are of previous cast members and available at Thriller Live’s official website.