Conceived and created by Adrian Grant, with direction and choreography by Gary Lloyd, Thriller Live attempts to pay homage to Michael Jackson’s live performances, with non-stop hits and some stunning choreography.
More a tribute show than a West End musical, Thriller Live at times, struggles to know what it wants to be, with a weak narrative that glosses over many parts of Jacksons life, especially his later quirkiness and sometimes controversial moments.
Musically, it is a testament to the late artist’s incredible career from his cute beginnings in the Jackson Five through to the success of Thriller. Die-hards fans will revel in the cavalcade of hits after hits including Can You Feel It, The Way You Make Me Feel, Beat It, Billie Jean, Bad, Rock With You, and so on!
Visually, Gary Lloyd has created some nice moments that draws its references from some of Jackson’s spectacular live show. Jonathan Parks multi-layered set is functional that features multi video screens that easily transports the audience through time and era. Though disappointingly, the video representation of a mirror ball comes across as somewhat tacky.
The predominantly UK cast brings plenty of energy and fun replicating some of Jackson’s iconic choreography with J Rome and Wayne Robinson delivering some very solid vocal performances. The five-piece band under the guidance of John Maher sets a loud pounding rhythm.
Of the three featured Australian singers, it’s former The Voice contestant Prinnie Stevens who delivers a standout performance. Almost stealing the show, Stevens looks and sounds fully at ease, proving a firm audience favourite.
Having previously played the show in the UK and joining the cast ahead of its Melbourne season, Peter Murphy is in fine form vocally, as is Mig Ayesa though provided some of the show’s ‘over-the-top’ moments that verged on distracting.
Thriller Live is not a bad show, providing fans the opportunity to relive some of the magic that is Michael Jackson. Despite the best efforts of the cast, it is a pity it struggles to find its narrative voice, with the show looking and feeling over-produced, being more at home in a club setting than Melbourne’s State Theatre.
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Thursday 29 January 2015 – 8.00pm
Season continues to 8 February 2015
Bookings: 1300 182 183 or online at: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
Sydney Lyric Theatre, Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
Season: 26 February – 15 March 2015
Bookings: 1300 795 267 or online at: www.ticketmaster.com.au
For more information, visit: www.thrillerlive.com.au for details.
Image: courtesy of Thriller Live
Review: Rohan Shearn