Thriller Live at the Lyric Theatre London Review

ThrillerLiveThriller Live
Lyric Theatre, London

Until 6 September 2015


Reviewed by Zoey Caldwell

This was a big one for me, the most excited I have been for a review, yet this will probably be the hardest to write.

I first fell in love with Michael Jackson aged 13, I am now about turn 40. I fell hard and fast after the most jaw droppingly amazing concert at Milton Keynes Bowl. I bought all the old albums, Jackson 5, The Jacksons, Off The Wall, Thriller etc, books, videos and listened and watched hours and hours worth of Michael performing. As well as several more concerts on following album tours, although as an adult I grew out of the totally obsessive status of fan, I still had the uppermost respect for him and LOVED his music. Heartbroken that he was taken too soon.

I have wanted to see the show for ages, so was over the moon to receive the review. I was desperate to see if they did Michael justice.

Let’s start at the beginning of the show and the start of Michael’s success with his brothers. Ramon Mariqueo Smith is young Michael. With afro wigs and Lycra, singing and dancing along to all the original hits Ramon certainly is talented, although we felt that he seemed nervous. I do not want to take anything away from Ramon he has a talent.

Now this is where things really threw my expectations of what to expect right out of the window. There is no, one adult Michael. We flitted between John Moabi, Britt Quinton, Jesse Smith, Haydon Eshun, David Jordan and here is what really shocked me, Shanice Steele, yes that is right a woman!

Shanice has a great voice, but again at first she seemed nervous and doesn’t appear to be a natural dancer, although both nerves and dancing did get so much better after a couple of songs.

Hit after hit after hit, there certainly is no shortage of fantastic music, I found that after the initial young Michael and Jackson 5 ensemble the hits had no flow though, jumping from album to album, which when it appears that the show also wants to inform those that may not know much about Michael of his life it wasn’t flowing in that way. This isn’t a big deal, the vast long song list is amazing and everyone is performed brilliantly.

Now obviously Michael Jackson did not just sing, he was an amazing dancer and I have to say to say that I think the dancers in the show were amazing! David Jordan, the true Michael lookalike must have studied Michael for endless hours because he has mannerisms as well as the moves. Smooth Criminal, Billie Jean David nailed them, But the rest of the dancers stand out as exceptional. Not one person let the team down.

What left me so perplexed as to how to write this review was the inner turmoil that although each lead singer was very talented in their own right, it sometimes took 4 of them to sing 1 hit. I struggled with this, found it odd. My friend pointed out that really that is just how AMAZING Michael was. He did it all the singing, dancing, writing, entertaining and then it became clear that I needed to look at the review from a different angle. Not a comparison to Michael but more as a homage to him, an appreciation of what Michael did for generations of people. Well then Thriller Live has succeeded in a massive way. Looking around the theatre, there was a real mixture of ages, races and gender. I absolutely loved that the young girl whooped when her favourite song came on, or the sheer look of complete happiness on a gentleman of a more mature age, rocked out with the best of us.

Thriller Live is a step back in time, a reminder that Michael brought us such an array of music. The rockier songs like were sung by the very talented Jesse, who looks a bit more like he belongs in Guns and Roses and has more cheese than a cheese factory, but if you can look past this then an appreciation of his talent can be found, if not close your eyes the cheese and arrogance cannot be heard in his voice.

So much work has gone into this show, all of the cast and the band should be more than proud of the performance that they gave, I did not see one person that I thought did not give their all. I didn’t see any audience members leave disappointed. I left happy and thinking I need to dig out all the old albums because it just reinforces how amazing The King of Pop was, sorry is because it is apparent that the legend lives on. Thank you to Thriller Live for helping people remember the fantastic Michael Jackson. Each and every one of the cast and backstage staff, band should be so proud.

Thriller Live is playing at Lyric Theatre, Shaftsbury Avenue, London. The theatre is within walking distance of tube stations, Leicester Square, China Town and Piccadily, therefore opportunities of pre-show drinks or a meal are endless.

Rating: 4/5

Tickets cost from £27.50 to £87.50 (includes booking fee).

Thriller Live is at the Lyric Theatre in London until September 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 482 9674.

Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7ES | 0844 482 9674

4 Star

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