MusicalNorth WestReview

Thriller Live – Palace Theatre, Manchester

Creator/Director: Gary Lloyd

Reviewer: Donna Kelly

Seen by over four million people in over 30 countries, it’s fair to say that Thriller Live is a crowd-pleaser. Now in its record-breaking ninth year in London’s West End, the musical extravaganza continues to draw big crowds and – much like Michael Jackson’s legacy – is showing no signs of slowing down.

Celebrating the life and career of Michael Jackson, Thriller Live is an electrifying visual and audio journey through Jackson’s 45-year musical history. The two-hour show features non-stop hits from the King of Pop including; I Want You Back, ABC, Can You Feel It, Off the Wall, Beat It, Billie Jean, Dirty Diana, Bad, Heal the World and Thriller, all performed live by the talented cast and on-stage band.

It’s worth pointing out at this stage that Thriller Live is not an imitation act. If anything, this is a show that thrives on diversity with six different vocalists, both male and female, adding their own MJ touch to the songs. What it is, however, is a high energy show. From the L.E.D laden set, to the colourful costume designs, every inch of Thriller Live is loud, bright and lively. There is a fun, party-like atmosphere among the cast which drives the general feel of the show and the sensational dancers keep the temperature high with the sharp and punchy dance routines.

Those who have seen the show before may notice a few subtle changes to the format including the introduction of several new songs such as the 1972 classic Rockin’ Robin and the 1991 R&B hit Remember The Time, as well as some extra ­choreography and a revamped opening.

Yet for all its flair, passion and precision, the biggest problem with Thriller Live is that it’s not really clear where the show fits. Sitting somewhere in between a jukebox musical, a tribute show, a concert and a living memorial, Thriller Live certainly entertains but ultimately lacks substance. The constant succession of song and dance numbers gives the show a distinct cabaret feel while the intermittent audience participation feels a little panto-esque.

That said, the music and dance numbers are strong with Choreographer Gary Lloyd perfectly capturing Jackson’s iconic dance moves including the moonwalk, the crotch-thrust and, the robot. The vocalists are also strong with Rory Taylor and Adriana Louise in particular, standing out for their unique take on She’s Out Of My Life and The Way You Make Me Feel respectively.

Runs until 24 February 2018 | Image: 


Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score

Crowd Pleasing

The Reviews Hub - North West

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.

Related Articles


  1. Very poor. You have a Michael Jackson look a like who can dance but can’t sing. When he does make the odd appearance he mimes.
    You then have singers who are best described average to good.
    It was like watching 2 hours of karaoke.
    Complete waste of money and we were left highly deflated.
    Would not recommend to anyone, not that this review will get a reply

  2. I saw the show in Belfast last night and actually ended up loving it although there were other singers and the Michael Jackson tribute barely made an appearance-although when he did I thought he was brilliant. The one thing that annoyed me more than anything was the woman singer as I didn’t feel she captured michaels essence at all and she was over singing and she was not hitting the moves as good as other people were. It got to the point where every time she was on stage I got p***ed off and I could tell others didn’t like it either. I really enjoyed myself though and thought it was great entertainment. Just that one girl ruined it for me.

Back to top button