Thriller Live is a concert-style show that celebrates the work of legendary performer Michael Jackson. This musical anthology begins with Jackson’s early years as a teen sensation belting out ABC with his brothers and sisters to his breakthrough solo album Off the Wall and beyond. Those looking for history of Jackson’s personal life should look elsewhere as this theatrical extravaganza is a breathtaking celebration of a musician whose work spans over three decades.
Jackson’s vocals are provided by six very different singers who all bring a certain magic to each instantly recognisable hit. Kieran Alleyne plays the bundle of energy that led the Jackson Five in a strikingly accurate vocalisation for hits such as I Want You Back and the delightful Ben. Ben Foster, John Moabi and Roger Wright help fill in the middle years and hits such as Blame it on the Boogie and Rock With You, while US performer Ricko Baird brings to the stage some of the classic choreography that epitomises Jackson’s Thriller and Bad period.
Perhaps the greatest discovery of the evening is Denise Pearson, who marries a sassy, shapely stage persona to some of Jackson’s best loved tracks, producing something as exquisite as her rendition of The Way You Make Me Feel.
This is very much an ensemble company and the dance team here deserve a special mention. The choreography paints as lively and informative a picture of the changing decades as do Jackson’s songs, and some of the set pieces, particularly the Billie Jean/Thriller/Bad set are, quite literally, thrilling.
Jonathan Park’s set design and Nigel Catmur’s lighting are complimented by LED screens creating some wonderful theatrical set pieces that are simple and yet remarkably effective.