Thriller Live | Grand Canal Theatre
Review by: Robin Murray
Star Rating: 3.5/5
Thriller Live is a funny show - it's not quite a musical and not quite a concert, and while it does suffer slightly for not deciding what exactly it is, it doesn't stop the production from being highly enjoyable.
The show kicks off with an X Factor-style performance of 'Jam', complete with flashing lights and a dozen dancers popping and locking in Storm Trooper-style get-ups. It's a high-octane number that creates a party atmosphere rarely lost throughout the two-hour show.
Beginning on a high, AJ Lewis, one of the five lead vocalists and the 'head Michael', spoke to the crowd and gave some context to the show, talking about Jackson's many accomplishments before introducing Blaze Ellis-Porter (an eleven-year-old singing and dancing sensation who's so talented and confident, it'll make you sick) to the stage to perform a selection of Jackson 5 hits, followed by performances from MJ's debut solo album, 'Off The Wall'.
The dancing is energetic and fun, while the vocals are strong. Stand out numbers include 'I'll Be There' and 'Can You Feel It', with sole female lead, Samantha Carlene, particularly shining with pure, powerful vocals that are quite simply perfect. Audience participation comes with 'Shake Your Body', with the crowd being told to get up, clap and throw their hands in the air. Sometimes this can be a bit cringey, but with music as rousing as this, you can't help but get up and boogie. Act two almost completely consisted of music from MJ's legendary albums, 'Thriller' and 'Bad', with his most iconic songs such as 'Beat It', 'Smooth Criminal' and 'Thriller' all being performed.
While the performances are impressive and enjoyable, it becomes somewhat exhausting watching one song and dance number after another without some form of relief - All Thriller, not enough filler, you could say.The show lacks in biographical information on the man in question, the man who has brought us here to this show in the first place. Some footage of Michael throughout the years wouldn't have gone a miss. By ignoring his fascinating private life, it could be said that the show is devoid of that all important personal touch. Perhaps they've lost an opportunity to make something genuinely moving.
But it is important to stress, Thriller Live is not the story of Michael Jackson's life told through song and dance, it's a celebration of his finest work, and on that score it's a success. You'll leave the theatre with a sense of awe that one man was responsible for so many pop classics and an appreciation of the cultural impact his music has had.
Thriller Live is feel-good, family entertainment, and children in particular will adore the spectacle.
Don't expect to be enlightened, but be prepared to be thoroughly entertained.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Wednesday 21st September 2011 | Theatre
The worst hour (we left at the interval!) I have ever sat through in my life! It's an hour I will never get back. From the opening scene until the interval it was a mess of x-factor wannabies pouncing around trying the sing! Pour vinegar in your eyes....it would be less painful!Posted 11:34 | Sat 24th Sep 2011
I saw this in London with my Dad and both of us thought it was amazing. There were a few guys in this who worked with MJ so it's to the highest standard. @Mickymick I will admit that the first half moves a little slow but it really picks up after the interval.Posted 10:49 | Mon 3rd Oct 2011
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