In a town where tribute acts play on a nightly basis, it’s no surprise Thriller Live! makes regular visits to the Grand Theatre.
The production, which has played in London’s West End for nine years, celebrates the moves, the music and the man that is Michael Jackson, charting his career from the early days of the Jackson Five to the mid-90s.
The show has some clunky, cringy dialogue to introduce the various eras, but once the music kicks in you’re swept up in the beats created by a musical master.
The first half drags slightly, before the second half lets loose with many of the biggest hits and most celebrated video and dance routines being recreated in Thriller Live! director and choreographer Gary Lloyd’s own way.
None of the cast seeks to directly copy MJ’s famous moves or distinctive tone - and let’s face it, they’d be setting themselves a mammoth task to do so. Instead the show pays due reverence to his massive influence on musical culture.
Highlights include Smooth Criminal, Billie Jean, Bad and of course Thriller, all with the bonus of Eddy Lima stepping into MJs shoes to front the numbers.
Other tracks come courtesy of the singing ensemble, with special mention to the well contrasted vocal styles of Rory Taylor and Shaquille Hemmans.
The dance ensemble are lumbered with some pretty cheap-looking costumes, in fact the overall production values seem to have dipped since the show was last in town, but their high energy routines soon distract from the highly flamable fabrics.
With a funky band in support, I do however have to question a show calling itself ‘Live!’ when it seemingly relies very heavily on recorded vocals, especially given the talents of the singers.