You’d be hard pushed to find anybody on the entire planet who doesn’t know the words to one of Michael Jackson’s songs. There’s no denying that he remains the ultimate King of Pop, and Thriller Live showcases this status perfectly. The crotch-grabbing, white glove-wearing one’s catalogue of hits provides pure joy from start to finish.
It’s worth pointing out that this isn’t a musical in any respect. It’s more of a tribute to a musical hero, with the odd piece of narration or factual trivia thrown in. The show starts during his early career in The Jackson 5, where we’re presented with the talents of the most adorable young performer ever. Eshan Gopal has a remarkable voice, extremely similar to a baby-faced MJ, and his cheek and enthusiasm is an obvious hit with the cooing audience. As the musical numbers come on thick and fast, a team of four lead vocalists tackle some of the biggest tracks ever recorded. The only female of the quartet, Trenyce Cobbins, has a gorgeous voice, and oozes style and class. Her smile is infectious, and she dances her way through all her numbers with an effortless panache. I’m not sure who has more fun in ‘PYT’, Cobbins or the bopping auditorium. Haydon Eshun’s stunningly rich voice hits all of the powerful notes in ‘Man In The Mirror’ with ease, whilst Jay Brock’s impressive falsetto suits every number he puts his sequin glove to. David Jordan not only looks like Michael Jackson, but dances exactly like him too. His move-for-move routines to ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Thriller’ are a pure joy to watch, and could be the closest you’ll get to experiencing the late pop star on stage.
Although the singing is faultless, it’s the incredible dancing that steals the show. The cast have more energy than an entire warehouse full of Duracell bunnies. Each routine they perform is precise, clean and so strong that it’s difficult to not be completely mesmerised. A special mention has to go to dancer Joe Drum, who has so much charisma and effortless power in his moves that you’ll find it hard to take your eyes off him. Meanwhile, the two female dancers in ‘Dirty Diana’ will have even the most hardened gay man questioning his sexuality. The routines to ‘Beat It’ and ‘Dangerous’ are worth the price of the ticket alone.
It’s easy to see why the show is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Not only does the music speak for itself, but the entire cast come together to give the audience a real dose of escapism in a concert atmosphere. To celebrate their Birthday, one lucky audience member was presented with a millionth customer golden ticket plaque after the show ended. 6-year-old Chanelle Koroglu received a copy of the sold-out The Official Michael Jackson Opus, the entire back catalogue of the musician, and some Thriller Live goodies too. To say we were extremely jealous is an understatement, but young Chanelle wasn’t so sure. When presented with the giant Opus weighing 12kg, she grabbed the mic and said to the audience, ‘I don’t think I’ll be able to carry that home.’
Whether you’re a fan of Michael Jackson or not, you won’t be able to leave the Lyric Theatre without his tunes swimming happily around your head. So what are you waiting for, go and get a ticket… go on, beat it.