ConcertMusicalNorth WestReview

Thriller Live – Manchester Opera House

Director and Choreographer: Gary Lloyd
Reviewer: Matt Yeoman


The magic of Michael Jackson’s music lives on in this fantastic compilation show of his huge catalogue of hits. With no less than 34 musical numbers covering his most iconic songs, the show is packed full with incredible dance routines that bring Jackson’s music back to life.

The show follows the chronological order that the songs were released with the five main lead vocalists setting the context behind each chapter of his life. Accompanied by an incredibly talented and slick group of dancers, the songs are performed as a series of episodic stories, capturing key themes and styles Jackson himself produced in his music videos.

Shaquille Maerice Hemmans and Michael Karuma do an incredible job engaging the audience and have them up on their feet on a number of occasions. Indeed, the vocal talents of these two performers are exceptional and both feature different qualities of Jackson’s voice. They are accompanied by Rory Taylor (finalist in ITV;s Superstar) and Cleopatra Higgins (lead vocalist from the 90s pop group Cleopatra) who are both outstanding vocalists in their own right and bring an incredible texture to the group.

Sean Christopher finishes off the quintet – he not only looks and sounds incredibly like Michael Jackson, but moves with the same finesse and style that Jackson himself developed. The audience, of course, cheers with every moonwalk, which fit seamlessly into the routines. The exceptionally talented dancers prove throughout that they are a slick and well-rehearsed company with some exceptional stand-out performances coming from Peter Cleverly and Gianni Arancio.

The music of Thriller Live is brilliantly performed by a six-piece band who on a number of occasions enter the space to perform the iconic guitar solos in songs such as Beat It and Dirty Diana.

The set itself is simple, yet through the effective use of lighting and video walls are able to change and adapt to each moment. For a touring production, the visual and technical elements are cleverly designed and matched closely to the West End production.

For any Michael Jackson fan, this is a show not to be missed and although it sometimes seems like it struggles to identify itself as either a biography or concert, it does honour the style, memory and quality of his songs, something that even the most die-hard of fans will testify to.

Runs until 23 January 2016 | Image: Contributed

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One Comment

  1. Me and my wife watched thriller last night at the Opera house Manchester and was disappointed about the amount of times mj was on stage. His backing dancers were on stage more than him. He did about 3 songs out of about 15. We expected to see more from him but nothing.

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