Review: Thriller Live, Lyric Theatre

Thriller Live is a musical tribute concert to the late, great King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Unlike other tribute musicals such as Mamma Mia and We Will Rock You, this show is just over two hours of non-stop Jackson hits, which gives true credit to the popularity and success of all his music.

The show simply follows Jackson’s incredible career, starting with popular The Jackson 5 songs like ‘ABC’ and ‘I Want You Back’ (sung impressively by eleven-year-old Daniel Odejinmi), and following through with some of his major hits such as ‘Blame It On The Boogie’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Man In The Mirror’ and, of course, ‘Thriller’ – among many more.

What you should know if you’re planning on seeing this show (and you should) is that this is not your average theatre-going experience. The actors do not except you to sit quietly through every song and clap politely at the end. Audience members are highly encouraged to join in, to be an active participant and to clap along with all these well-loved songs. In fact you’ll quickly find yourself swaying in time to the music, and by the end you’ll find you just can’t control your feet.

This show has some of the most impressive choreography seen on any West End stage. Choreographer Gary Lloyd perfectly captures the movements that the King of Pop used to wow audiences throughout his entire career. David Jordan, one of the lead vocalists, effortlessly mirrors Jackson’s iconic dance moves in a particularly accurate look for each Jackson phase. The whole cast performs intricate and extraordinary choreography with so many twists and flips that it’s hard to know where to look first.

The cast is clearly chosen very carefully, as each singer has a hint of Michael Jackson in their voices. Cleopatra Higgins (from 90s R’n’B/pop group Cleopatra) joins Haydon Eshun, David Jordan, John Moabi and Jesse Smith as lead voclists. They are all fantastic performers as well as sensational singers, and each one brings their own Jackson-isms to their roles. At some points their microphones are drowned out by the band, which makes it hard to hear the lyrics, but nevertheless it is still such an enjoyable night out.

Credit where it’s due to the costume department for a range of time-appropriate, colourful, glittering costumes for the dancers, as well as amazing replica Michael Jackson outfits for the singers. Even with a simple set design, the use of lighting and moving screens really adds to each performance nicely.

A show like Thriller Live can be taken anywhere around the world at any point in time and will be unbelievably successful. The whole cast captures every detail of the spirit of Michael Jackson as a performer, and his music will forever and always remain timeless.

Thriller Live is playing at the Lyric Theatre and is currently booking until 6 September. For more information and tickets, see the Thriller Live website.