MusicMusicalNorth WestReview

Thriller Live! – Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Creator: Adrian Grant

Director:  Gary Lloyd

Reviewer: John Roberts

Almost nine years to the day “The King of Pop” untimely passed, Thriller Live!Lands in Liverpool, A perfect choice considering the city’s rich musical heritage.  The original production landed in London’s West End just short of six months before Jackson’s death and has since then toured the UK many times going through many changes.

Director and Choreographer Gary Lloyds can’t be accused of resting on his laurels with this celebration of Jacksons music, showcasing an amazing musical legacy, however – it can’t be denied that this current tour, lacks some of the magic previous tours have been blessed with. Gone is a great segment using child performers to recreate the Jackson 5 era, instead we are left to watch a videoed performance – we are also left to watch Tony Ben Azouz who physically recreates Jackson’s most iconic dance moves with energy and gusto, however to then watch him mime his way throughout all his segments somehow undermines the integrity of not only the show and the hard work the rest of the cast put in but also Jackson himself. Is it really that hard to find a performer who can not only dance like Jackson but sing like him too? Especially for a show such as this?

Show shortcomings aside, Thriller Live! Still provides an enjoyable night at the theatre especially when hearing his music belted out with precision from a team of stunning vocalists including Britt Quentin, Shaquille Maerice Hemmans, Eddy Lima, Adrianna Louise and Merseyside’s very own Rory Taylor. It’s the vocal prowess of Adrianna Louise who steals the show though managing to capture the magic of Michael’s music in her own distinctive way. Likewise, Director and Choreographer, Lloyd, infuses the show with some breath-taking dance sequences especially when using the full set designed by Jonathan Park.  Nigel Catmur’s lighting design alongside Colin Rozee’s video design helps bring a concert like feel to proceedings which certainly brings a certain chaotic atmosphere inside the auditorium.

A live on-stage band of seven under the musical direction of Andy Jeffcoat bring the melodies of Jackson alive in a series of rich and powerful orchestrations. Thriller Live! After all these years still has the power to evoke magic, just sadly not as much magic as it used to – perhaps the show needs to go back to the drawing board and reinventive itself again, just like the King of Pop managed to do so successfully many, many times before.

Runs until Sat 30 June 2018 | Image: Contributed

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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