This summer will mark the 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. Has it really been that long..? On a more positive note, this month marks the 10th anniversary of the Thriller Live musical in the West End. Unlike other jukebox musicals that try to come up with a book that links all the songs to a cohesive theme, Thriller Live dispenses with the ‘window dressing’, and launches into the singing and dancing from the word go.
Due to the sheer volume of songs throughout the evening, there is a rotating quorum of singers and dancers who each reflect distinct qualities of Jackson’s voice for specific songs. In terms of the songs chosen for the show, a cross-section of Jackson’s back catalogue are used – giving a flavour of his entire career. Even so, the ‘minor’ hits are judiciously placed so that the really big hits end each half of the show on a high.
Everyone will have their favourite Jackson era and in my case it’s during his Off The Wall and Thriller albums. Of the songs from these albums that made the cut, the disco-influenced Rock With You and Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough are particularly strong, as are She’s Out Of My Life, Human Nature, PYT and Beat It.
Seeing Jackson’s signature dancing live and the sheer spectacle of numerous vocalists and dancers taking part, one is reminded of how many have had to collaborate to being bring his career on stage to fruition.
On the evening I attended, cast from previous productions over the past decade joined the current alumni onstage – visibly happy to there and fitting in seamlessly. Seeing them all together, it’s obvious they love being there and that everyone who has ever participated is part of ‘the family’.
Thriller Live ‘does what it says on the tin’ – delivering ‘thrilling’ wall-to-wall hits that for those who remembers them, leaves an indelible smile on the face.
© Michael Davis 2019
Thriller Live runs at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue until 29th September 2019.