11-16 April 2016
Reviewed by Melanie Allen
Thriller Live is an energetic 2 hour show dedicated to the life of Michael Jackson, from his early years in the Jackson Five to his more famous later years as a solo artist. It’s more than just another Michael Jackson tribute show though. It’s a celebration of his musical life. There are about 30 songs performed throughout the show, starting with classics like ‘ABC’, ‘Rocky Robin’ and ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ and ending with ‘Bad’ and ‘Black and White’. Audience participation is minimal and we are invited to rise to our feet and join in the dancing for maybe one or two songs. Each album is mentioned as to how many successful songs are on it – ‘Off the Wall’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’ are the most memorable ones. The first half of the show portrays the earlier MJ years and for me, was lacking in pizazz and wasn’t as enjoyable as the last half of the show. This was probably due to the fact that all the MJ songs I love were in the second half!
There are some very talented singers/dancers taking part in the show. The Lead dancer is Sean Christopher, who is, in my opinion, the most realistic impersonator of MJ I have seen, makes you feel like MJ is alive and well and appearing on the stage. He is an incredible dancer and performs the Moonwalk magically much to the audience’s amazement and delight. Alongside Sean, are the other male Lead Singers; Rory Taylor, Adam J Bernard and Shaquille Hemmans who, to be fair, have a job on their hands to dance as well as the main man, but in fairness do an excellent job vocally. The female lead singer is Angelica Allen and she has strong, powerful vocals that funnily enough sounds like Michael Jackson when he hits the high notes.
There are a variety of backdrops – from the gangster setting of ‘Smooth Criminal’, the Egyptian theme of ‘Remember the Time’ and the head banging, air guitar playing act of ‘Dirty Diana’. The best set has to be the ‘Thriller’ graveyard show which certainly wowed the audience. As we were on a chronological journey, I’m not sure why Thriller was performed at the end of the show and not when the album was mentioned. The second half was by far the best part of the show, with great performances of ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Smooth Criminal’ and also ‘Earth Song’ and ‘Man in the Mirror’.
Great venue, easy to park in the NCP next to the theatre (£5.50 for the evening) and entertainment of a very high standard – suitable for young and old – you just can’t ‘beat it’!
Tickets cost from £10 to £37.15 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Thriller Live is at the Liverpool Empire until 16 April 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8713017.
Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017