Thriller Live – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Director and Choreographer: Gary Lloyd

Original Concept and Executive Director: Adrian Grant

Reviewer: Dominic Corr

Commenting on Michael Jackson’s contribution to the world of music would be fruitless. His legacy remains untouched, controversy in later life seeming to have no staying power. With all the finest performers who have graced this world with their talent comes one thing – Jukebox style revues. From the early days of Mo-Town, conquering pop, smashing rock and those awkward Earth Song days. Thriller Live moonwalks us through a (rough) history of Jackson’s musical career.

Never mind the undead rushing the stage during the titular number, this show has managed to breathe life into the often reserved audience, it speaks volumes to the quality of the vocals of most of the cast, particularly Adriana Louise and Britt Quintin. All the tricks to get the audience onto their feet do work, especially for those visiting the bar beforehand. 

Less is more, more is garish. There can be no question to the technical efforts involved, especially for a touring production. The care and attention to detail are phenomenal, though one can suffer a twisted neck as our attention is shifted around the set with velocity. Jonathan Park’s set design, in tandem with an array of video, lighting and pyrotechnic effects offer spectacle galore.

For her debut performance in a professional setting, Adriana Louise is a seasoned star already. Her control was clear, still managing to elicit emotions whilst working the stage. Others vocal let-downs occurred during the second act, with what should have been the strongest pieces. The entirety of the first act, enjoyable as it was, relies on nostalgia and disco charm. With such an intense repertoire for act two: Smooth Criminal, Dirty Diana and Man in the Mirror, whilst enjoyable, lacked the full wallop they deserve. They Don’t Care About Us should get the audience to its feet but instead there’s just mild appreciation.

Billie Jean, however? Remarkable. For all that can be said of the dilution of certain songs, they are made up for by others. Eddy Lima’s transformation into Jackson for numbers such as this and Dangerous are the closest the audience will get to the real thing.

Thriller Live only really has one key issue – it’s stale. For a first viewing Thriller is a perfectly acceptable piece of revue, but besides a few updated changes to the choreography nothing has changed, nor does one suspect it ever will. Dance captain Kevin Heatherson, along with choreographer Gary Lloyd has injected a few modern ‘meme’ style movements. A welcome addition, but let down by some poor synchronicity at pivotal moments. For a production other than Thriller, this would be fine, but when movement is such an integral part of your show the slightest misstep will be noticed.

With  a productions centred around such astronomical star of the industry, they need to emulate some of the majesties Jackson created. Thriller Live, whilst a love letter to the works of Jackson doesn’t always live up to his standards. Never-the-less, this elicits an urge to belt out a few classic tunes and a gentle reminder as to why Jackson was the King of Pop. Thriller Live truly is the seat-filling crowd pleaser. Regardless of its faults, you will not be disappointed.

Runs until 19 May 2018 | Image: Contributed


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Regardless of its faults, you will not be disappointed.

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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