Thriller Live review at the Lyric Theatre, London – ‘constantly upping its game’
When Thriller Live opened in 2009, it intended a brief West End run followed by a UK tour. Since the untimely death of Michael Jackson in June that year, the show became a focus for fans in mourning and as of December this year, will become the 17th longest-running show ever in the West End.
Now an established worldwide hit, the show has had a revamp. Director and choreographer Gary Lloyd has reworked several of the dance routines, incorporating a selection of new songs such as the classic Rockin’ Robin and the 1992 R&B hit Remember The Time.
A new opening offers a hint of things to come and formally introduces the lead vocalists in turn. John Moabi, who featured in the original production, shoehorns in a little background information but this brief attempt at a narrative soon gives way to an avalanche of hits and some of Lloyd’s genuinely thrilling, dynamic choreography.
Alex Buchanan stands out as the most versatile vocalist, able to capture the heartbreak of She’s Out Of My Life and the sheer exuberance of Beat It. For moves, Dajiow threads through the evening showcasing Jackson’s trademark moonwalk and bringing the house down with both Billie Jean and Thriller. Encompassing the early years Eshan Gopal proves an exceptional young performer, with an energy and charisma to match any of his adult counterparts.
Already booking well into 2016, Thriller Live could quite easily have rested on its laurels and become a tired, stale shrine to a much loved star. As this recent reworking proves, the show is very much a malleable product, constantly upping its game and rightfully staking its claim as the best party in the West End.