Thriller Live Review | The Palace Theatre | Manchester
Showering audiences in hits for eleven years straight, Thriller Live has merged Michael Jacksons classic tracks, iconic videos and original choreography to form a dazzling live concert.
Fuelled by Michael’s influence, the show continues to rep for the King of Pop, enlisting five artists to cover his hits. Balanced by its male vocalists, Kieran Alleyne, Britt Quintin, David Julien and Joseph Thomas, the show injects some girl power with its fantastic female lead, Adriana Louise. The performers play through the best of Michael’s 45-year musical history, with ten backing dancers flipping and moonwalking over two floors of staging. The fabulous live band blare behind an enormous video screen that alters the locations from a multicoloured studio performance for the Jackson 5’s ABC, to a zombie-filled Thriller creation. As the production acts as a straight concert, the Palace Theatre is kitted out with studio lights and screens used to travel back through Michael’s catalogue in what feels like a live, two-hour-long MTV music video.
Director and choreographer Gary Lloyd spins several plates to ensure that the nostalgic tribute allows fans to see their favourite pop video remade in front of their eyes. Moving from Little MJ, to popular impersonator, Kieran Alleyne for the memorable Billie Jean choreography, the show offers a relentless package of bundled hits. The staging is minimal, but between the productions rapid costume changes and the strength of its five lead vocalists, the concert relives the memory of Michael’s music besides a universal message of hope and unity.
Despite the controversial figures resting legacy, audiences remain eager to keep the popular music alive, with Thriller Live smartly recasting famous and distinctive singers into its large ensemble habitually. The cast have plenty of material to work with, even if it’s one glove, and alongside its pacy and charming performances, the deceptively simple staging staggers a prop heavy production to carry out its concept. Including the club scene from Smooth Criminal, complete with its long lean, anti-gravity choreography and the entire Walking Dead crew shuffling out to deliver the titles song, the catalogue bundles 22 of Michael’s 44 UK Top 10’s.
Thriller remains one of the most popular and famous music videos of all time, with the track built up into the shows second act as a reminder to audiences of Michael’s record-breaking impact. The 1983 pioneering video directed by An American Werewolf’s John Landis is a treat definitely worth repeating, together with thirty other tracks on offer. Sharing the stage, all five artists join together to perform They Don't Care About Us, Black or White and Man In The Mirror, presenting a short tribute to the artist they emulate in front of his silhouette.
Bringing an accessible and relaxed experience to The Palace Theatre, Thriller Live is a must for any Michael fan, or anyone onboard with reviving the moonwalk. Leaving plenty of moments for the audience to sing backup alongside the numerous Jacksons on stage, the shows talented and lively performers take on the classics in an enjoyable production.