Festival Theatre, Thu Dec 31, 2014
Thriller Live is the concert spectacular that has been taking London’s West End by storm for more than six years, making it the 20th-longest running show in the history of England’s theatre precinct. With more than two hours of hits from the extensive music catalogue of Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five, Thriller Live is not a theatrical reproduction of the life and music of Jackson, but a musical extravaganza that pays homage to the 45-year legacy of song and dance in Jackson’s illustrious career!
The opening night performance saw five main singers take the stage as each performed solo and group songs that perfectly suited their voices and music styles. Jackson had such a broad vocal range that it was an excellent idea to have several artists share the set list. Having a female singer not only gave new depth to some of the songs, but highlighted that fact that show is a fantastic tribute not an impersonation.
Consisting of vocalists and dancers from the West End London Cast, as well as Australian singers Prinnie Stevens [The Voice Australia] and MiG Ayesa [Rock Of Ages], Thriller Live delivered a dynamic performance; even the quieter songs oozed with the subdued passion that the singers, and dancers, felt for the music and lyrics.
Alex Buchanan was amazing in his vocal likeness to Michael Jackson. Close your eyes and you could be forgiven for believing it was really him, right down to his intonation and inflections. Sean Christopher did a fantastic job of representing all those dance moves synonymous with Jackson. Billie Jean was really good and Thriller – complete with Zombies – was pretty cool. Smooth Criminal in white suit and maroon socks and shirt was a highlight and a real audience favourite.
MiG Ayesa has a great stage presence, voice and feel for Jackson’s music, but he could afford to physically relax when performing She’s Out Of My Life and let his natural ability to sing the emotion of the song to take centre stage. This is probably more of a choreographic issue than anything else.
Prinnie Stevens did a fine job with many of Jackson’s songs. Her pop voice completely suited her rendition of P.Y.T and the choreography with the dance crew also showed off her own dancing skills. Wayne Robinson and J Rome were smooth, sassy and very animated in all of their performances. Solo or together, all of these performers had their moments to shine but without scene-stealing. They are the perfect combination.
The Jackson Five’s ABC, performed by five fit young men in stripy pants was very entertaining, bordering on risqué and a just little cheesy, but all in good fun. But, let’s face it, the disco era was cheesy with their flared pants, open shirts and medallion – but not as unforgivably so as the über-cheesy 1980s.
There were a few interesting song choices between Jackson’s lesser-known hits and the massive blockbusters that kept Jackson at the top of the music charts: The Love You Save, Dancing Machine, Blame It On The Boogie, Bad, Dirty Diana, Rock With You, They Don’t Really Care About Us…
The staging looked fantastic, from the split-level stair-riser that secretly housed the band, to the hanging screens that projected some stunning 3-dimensional images from disco glitter balls, basketball hoops and some stunning lighting effects that complement the onstage action.
John Maher’s band was outstanding in their musicianship. The dancers were hard working, entertaining and very talented. One in particular was a stand-out comic relief with some obvious ad-libbing adding to the already entertaining moments on stage. His split pants “wardrobe malfunction” was a perfect example of this and quite possibly an unintentional tribute to Janet Jackson.
There were a few moments of audience participation where people were coaxed on to their feet to dance and boogie on the spot. Little kids stood on their seats and some people didn’t want to sit down – such is the testament of the atmosphere created in this concert.
Thriller Live was the perfect way to see out 2014; a high-energy, musically and aesthetically outstanding performance that was bound to have you singing Jackson songs for hours after the show ended. Michael Jackson definitely is the undisputed King Of Pop!
In the words Molly Meldrum, “Do yourself a favour…” and have a thriller, Thriller night.
by Catherine Blanch and Susanne Sarre.
Triller Live continues at Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, at various times until Sun Jan 11.
Book at BASS on 131 246 or bass.net.au. Click here to purchase your tickets.
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THRILLER LIVE SONG LIST:
I Want You Back
The Love You Save
I’ll Be There
Show You the Way to Go
Blame it on the Boogie
Shake Your Body
This Place Hotel
She’s Out Of My Life
Off The Wall
Get on the Floor
Rock With You
Never Can Say Goodbye
Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough
Can You Feel It
Wanna Be Startin Something
The Way You Make Me Feel
I Just Can’t Stop Loving You
Man In The Mirror
They Don’t Care About Us
They Don’t Care About Us (Instrumental)
Heal The World
Black Or White
Smooth Criminal Reprise