THRILLER LIVE – Lyric Theatre, London.
Tonight’s performance of Thriller Live celebrates the 6th West End birthday of this high octane show – and the cast certainly pulled out a show stopping performance.
There are some more theatrical landmarks in store soon for this show too: on Sunday January 25, its 2,530th performance, Thriller Live will become the 19th longest running musical in West End history overtaking Grease, and on Sunday 12 April, its 2,619th performance, it will become the 18th longest running fiscal in West End history overtaking Oliver!
Lead vocalists Cleopatra Higgins, John Moabi, David Jordan and Jesse Smith are all noteworthy, especially Higgins who demonstrates her fantastic vocals and dance ability throughout. However, the real star of the show is twelve year old Daniel Odejinmi (one of five young performers), who performs the part of Michael Jackson as a young star in the Jackson 5 numbers, with a natural stage presence and personability that is fantastic to see. David Jordan stars in the role of Jackson as an adult and, wow, he can certainly pull of those trademark Jackson moves. Jordan really is incredibly watchable and gives a totally slick performance, especially in ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Billy Jean’ and of course the title number, ‘Thriller’. The lead vocalists are accompanied on stage by an ensemble of dancers, who all work really well together, injecting energy, character and a general air of excitement into the piece.
The costumes are truly brilliant, designed by Rob Jones and Catherine Jeatum of Shooting Flowers, they have encapsulated each time-frame through statement fashion pieces. Flares, leggings, high tops, vests, leather trousers, trilby hats, the famous white glove, shiny shoes and that all important red Thriller jacket all make an appearance and may have given me a newfound respect for 80s fashion!
Thriller Live is visually a feast for the eyes – the set and lighting (designed by Jonathan Park and Nigel Catmur respectively) is a constant spectacle with the incorporation of screens around the set, and occasionally flown in to display a filmed sequence. At times the films incorporated into the routines do not always enhance the number, but the exception to this is during the ‘Earth Song’, where natural images are displayed providing gravitas to the emotionally charged whole cast performance.
The band are also absolutely brilliant; sadly hidden behind a screen at the rear of the stage for the majority of the show, the highlights of the show include all moments when the screen opens to reveal these fine musicians – and also the two occasions when the guitarists join the company on stage as part of the routine.
Going to see Thriller Live is a brilliant night spent in the West End, it will get you on your feet and singing along (literally – audience participation is required!) and well worth a ticket. To the box office one and all!
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By Emily Jones