Director/Choreographer: Gary Lloyd
Reviewer: Robin Winters
Thriller Live has arrived in Liverpool much to the pleasure of Michael Jackson’s Merseyside fan base. Having celebrated seven years of success on the West End and a sell out arena tour, Thriler Live is a celebration of Jackson’s 45 year musical history including hits from his time with the Jackson 5, the disco era, some rock and pop classics as well as the occasional soulful ballad for good measure.
What Thriller Live ultimately makes the audience aware of is the sheer talent of the late singer. Love him or loath him there is no denying while sitting in the audience that Michael Jackson was gifted. The sheer range of styles and songs in his repertoire which spanned over four decades is mind blowing. From You Are Not Alone to Dirty Diana to Blame It On The Boogie, you know the words, sing along, tap your feet. The music is catchy and makes you want to get up off your seat and dance along.
An ensemble of ten dancers bring Jackson’s music to life, imitating concepts from some of his most iconic music videos, the 1920’s flappers and gangsters of Smooth Criminal to the ghostly ghouls of the title number Thriller. With dance being such an essential part of Jackson’s persona it is abundantly clear that the creative team have hired ten outstanding dancers, all absolutely in sync but all with their own personal flair which makes each one memorable.
The show is sung live throughout by four lead vocalists and lead dancer/vocalist Sean Christopher who plays Michael Jackson throughout the performance. Christopher plays the part of Jackson well and has a real physical sense of the late performer when taking on his iconic dance style including moves such as the moon-walk. In spite of this, his voice is no match for the other four lead singers and in this area he is clearly outshone.
The four lead vocalists however are great, very watchable. There is excellent chemistry between the group particularly Adam J. Bernard and Shaquille Hemmans who lead the audience in a little bit of participation. Angelica Allen is the only female singer, there is a sense of the style of Alicia Keyes in her performance; she has an excellent range but vocally appeared a little tired towards the end of the two and a half hour show. The final vocalist and Merseyside born Rory Taylor completes the group taking on many of Jackson’s rock hits which really suits his voice and individual performance style.
This show is a visual and audio spectacular. The up-beat numbers are toe-tapping, yet some of the ballads can feel a little slow after the spectacular ensemble pop hits. Earth Song, although poignant in its choice of direction felt at times a little more like a lecture than a performance, however this was an exception rather than a rule as most numbers were enticing and exciting. Thriller Live is, as the name suggests, all about Michael Jackson. If you are a fan of his work it is definitely worth a visit to Liverpool this week to get yourself a ticket. If you aren’t a fan it is still a good evening’s entertainment.
Runs until Saturday 16th April then touring