Thriller LIVE

Mar 22 2016 | By More

★★★★☆    Hard to Beat It

Festival Theatre: Mon 21 – Sat 26 Mar 2016
Review by Susan Lowes

Thriller LIVE, at the Festival Theatre until Saturday, certainly shows that there’s something about Michael Jackson that you just can’t stop loving.

First performed in the Lyric Theatre in London in 2009, the team at Thriller LIVE have created a spectacular concert tribute to one of the worlds greatest entertainers – with what is essentially a stage full of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits.

A scene from Thriller LIVE at the Festival Theatre. Photo: production.

A scene from Thriller LIVE (previous cast). Photo: Flying Music

And there really is something special in this touring version of the London production – which itself hit 3,000 performances in London’s West End just last week.

The magic of the show though isn’t the spectacular back catalogue, the medley of seamlessly integrated tracks, the energetic, awe-inspiring acrobatic dancers, the dazzling costumes, the insanely speedy costume changes or even the psychedelic set.

No, the real magic of the show is that there is no one main cast member playing Michael Jackson.

It seems almost counterintuitive, but it is in fact genius: no one person can measure up to the King of Pop and so this show doesn’t even try. Instead, five main vocalists, of different genders and ethnicity, each take on a different aspect of Michael’s character and persona.

Taken individually and you have a sensational Rory Taylor singing a slow She’s Out of My Life, an eerily unnerving Sean Christopher as a carbon copy of Michael in Billie Jean, a soulful Shaquille Hemmans shining in Man in the Mirror, an attitude-filled Cleopatra Higgins in The Way You Make Me Feel and a tender Michael Kavuma in I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.


Put them together and sparks really fly when the five are on stage performing – and not just because of the pyrotechnics.

Throw in a few zombies - a Thriller! from Thriller LIVE. Photo: Production.

Throw in a few zombies – a Thriller! from Thriller LIVE (previous cast). Photo: Flying Music.

Throw in snippets of history about the star, a few zombies and a voiceover to die for, and it’s not just a show that makes you want to dance in the aisles. That’s a big part of it too of course, alongside a bit of audience participation.

The first half of the show is a gradual build showcasing the early Motown and Disco hits which seems to consist of nothing but multiple medleys. Now everyone loves a medley, but it can become a little tedious when you’re aching for that favourite song to be played in full.

The second half continues the build to an all out war between the Thriller and Bad albums of the 1980s – but there’s no teasing medleys here. Satisfyingly the songs are played to their crowd-pleasing completion.

Thriller LIVE is one hell of an entertaining show. – it’s easy to see why it’s played over 3,000 shows to 3 million people in over 30 counties. If you’re even a little bit of a Michael Jackson fan, it’s not one to be missed. As it turns out, no mere mortal can resist the evil of the Thriller!

Running time: 2 hours 30 mins (including 20 minute interval)
Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT
Monday 21 to Saturday 26 March 2016
Evenings 7.30pm, Matinee Sat: 3.30pm.
Tickets and details:

Previous tours are reviewed here: Playhouse 2013 and here: Festival Theatre 2014.

Thriller LIVE on tour 2016:
Mon 21 – Sat 26 Mar Edinburgh
Festival Theatre
0131 529 6000 Book online
Tue 29 Mar – Sat 2 Apr Sheffield
Lyceum Theatre
0114 249 6000 Book online
Mon 4 – Sat 9 Apr Eastbourne
Congress Theatre
01323 412 000 Book online
Mon 11 – Sat 16 Apr Liverpool
Empire Theatre
08448 713 017 Book online
Mon 18 – Sat 23 Apr Glasgow
King’s Theatre
0844 871 7648 Book online
Mon 25 – Sat 30 April Cardiff
New Theatre
029 2087 8889 Book online
Mon 2 – Sat 7 May Woking
New Victoria Theatre
0844 871 7645 Book online
Mon 6 – Sat 11 Jun Bournmouth
Pavilion Theatre
0844 576 3000 Book online
Mon 13 – Sat 18 Jun Torquay
Princess Theatre
0844 871 3023 Book online
Mon 20 – Sat 25 Jun Canterbury
Marlowe Theatre
01227 787787 Book online
Mon 27 Jun – Sat 2 July Brighton
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7650 Book online
Mon 4 – Sat 9 July Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes Theatre
08448 717652 Book online
Mon 11 – St 16 July Truro
Hall for Cornwall
01872 262466 Book online
Mon 18 – Sat 23 July Southampton
Mayflower Theatre
02380 711811 Book online


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