Festival Theatre, Edinburgh – until 26 March 2016
Guest reviewer: Susan Lowes
Thriller Live, at Edinburgh’s 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.
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 (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: http://www.edtheatres.com/thriller
Thriller LIVE on UK tour 2016
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 21 – 26 March
Sheffield Lyceum, 29 March – 2 April
Liverpool Empire,11 – 16 April
Glasgow Kings Theatre, 18 – 23 April
Cardiff New Theatre, 25 – 30 April
Bournemouth 6 – 11 May