REVIEW | Thriller Live | UK Tour

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Thriller Live is a production exploding with energy, dynamic movement and excellent vocals creating an impressive tribute to the late legend Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson was crowned the king of pop for his outstanding diverse music and ability to produce such theatrical performances, and Thriller Live captures that. Creating the essence of a concert, the stage is lit with techno style screens, whether it is iconic Michael Jackson style video clips or flashing lights, the staging expressively bringing the whole production to life.

There is no need to bring your theatre ettiquette to Thriller Live as the concert style ambience sets the tone for the audience to clap, sing and become immersed in the Michael Jackson frenzy. There is a reason Thriller Live does so well on the West End because it allows people to enjoy highly exceptional talent in an exuburant performance whilst also being encouraged to get out of their seats and enjoy themselves. The cast get the entire audience involved in Shake Your Body, creating a vibrant atmosphere set to keep the audience’s energy high until the end of the show.

With an explosive opening, the mash up of classics provide the audience with an electric glimpse into what is to come. Costumes are used to take us through the Michael Jackson era from his early Motown days to the iconic Thriller album.

The singers proved outstandingly talented, as they each master a different quality to Jackson’s voice. Lead vocalist Rory Taylor gives a passionate and vocally stunning performance of Man in the Mirror. Cleopatra Higgins is compelling as the female lead vocalist as she brings softer and huskier vocal tones to the Jackson music. However she is unexpectedly replaced by Angelica Allen in the second act, who is radiant, giving a smooth yet feisty tone to each number, particularly in her harmonies in They Don’t Care About Us. 

Michael Kavuma is not only a remarkable vocalist but his confidence and flair provides a striking performance. Similarly Shaquille Hemmans is connected with the audience, alongside Kavuma they both do a phenomenal job keeping the audience engaged.

Despite the Jackson 5 songs being sung beautifully by Higgins and Kavuma, after seeing the show a few years ago it is a shame for the UK tour to have ditched the kids who I felt brought a lot of charisma to the stage, the true sense of The Jackson 5 was portrayed when they used utterly talented children to play young Michael.

Sean Christopher effortlessly inhabits the style of Jackson in both his movement and vocals, his sharpness echoes Jackson’s slick style. Whilst the ensemble could have been tighter, the overall strength to the choreography is powerful and performed with impact. The dancers are fierce which is really shown in their freestyle moments of the show as each dancer’s personality and style is displayed with character and sass.

Thriller Live UK Tour review

It’s a high-powered performance interjected with sentimental moments such as the more emotionally charged numbers such as Earth Song, I Just Can’t Stop Loving You and She’s Out Of My Life. However the finale is inevitably the highlight of the production, the cast had the whole audience up on their feet as they performed Jackson’s most well known hits such as Thriller, Billie Jean and Black or White.

Thriller Live has the intimacy of a musical but the atmosphere of a Michael Jackson concert, each number is animated and performed with intensity to emulate the commanding stage presence of Jackson himself.

Thriller Live is on at the Birmingham Alexandra Theatre until Saturday the 12th of March and tickets are available here.

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