Thriller – Live, Grand Opera House, York
Graham Clark, Features Writer
No matter what you think of Michael Jackson his music lives on – proof of that is Thriller – Live, a spectacular production that originally started in the West End and has now been seen by over 4 million people in over 30 countries.
I have seen the show many times and every time I see it I am never bored. Yes, they have tweaked it and no two versions are the same although some changes are for the better (letting the audience take photos, no doubt for social media) and some the worse (the young Michael Jackson is shown on screen rather than in person and the cast no longer dress up as the Jackson 5).
Fittingly though it does start back right at the beginning of his career with the early Jackson 5 hits such as I’ll Be There, I Want You Back and ABC. With 4 singers sharing vocals, 10 dancers and a live band it brings the magic of Jackson’s music to the stage.
The audience are soon asked to get up on their feet for Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) as they are split in two, pantomime style to see which half of the audience can sing the loudest.
A little known fact is that some of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits were written by a Northerner – Rod Temperton, originally from Cleethorpes! Temperton wrote Off The Wall, Rock With You and Thriller.
Rory Taylor looks like he should be fronting a rock band rather than being in Thriller, though he does deliver a soulful version of She’s Outta My Life. It was on the rockier tracks that he excelled.
Kieran Alleyne plays Michael Jackson in the period around the biggest part of his career – with the dancing and moon walk being unbelievably true to the orginal.
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Staying true to the video for Thriller, the dancers dress up as walking corpses in a scene that could compete with the best of any Hammer Horror film. Like the choreography throughout, the dancing is impeccable and excellent with fantastic timing. Even if you are a casual Jackson fan you would be impressed.
By the time a reprise of Smooth Criminal and Thriller is performed the audience are back on their feet. It is a slick, fast paced and energetic show with smooth interlinking. There are very few outrageous props just pure vocals bringing the essence of Jackson’s music to the auditorium.
“It’s on all week, I could come and see it another 5 times, it was that good” I overheard a woman saying as we left the theatre. I could not agree more.
Runs until Saturday 13 July at Grand Opera House York
Thriller – Live, Grand Opera House, York, 9th July 2019, 8:38 AM