Thriller Live – 10th Anniversary Show
On the 10th anniversary of Thriller Live, the feeling in the audience was electric. The theatre was packed with old cast members, and they really brought a great atmosphere to the Lyric Theatre. You could feel the love in the greetings far across the room as friends recognised old cast family from years gone by.
Some of the old cast were invited up onto the stage in a lovely moment in the second act and you could see clearly the bonds people had formed. We were also regaled with stories by the creator Adrian Grant who had a close personal relationship with Mr Jackson, and told that two of the singers John Moabi, and Haydon Eshun had been there since the beginning which is astounding. 10 years on stage and neither one’s performance was dated, or lackluster – they showed as much passion for the show, if not more than anyone else.
But if the current cast on stage were feeling the pressure of such a high calibre audience, not one of them showed it. They absorbed the energy from the audience and gave it back threefold. Thriller Live is an infinitely hard show to cast, where every cast member has to be the one who stole the show. Every dancer was the one you can’t take your eyes off, and every singer sung that powerhouse solo that brought the house down. Imagine a vocal squad of 4 Dreamgirls’ Effies, and you’ll get about to where they are. Each singer was a master of their voice. The control, stamina, and range of every one was astounding.
The dancers were synchronised, tight, sharp, and packed full of charisma. Led by Florivaldo Mossi, who played Michael Jackson himself, I couldn’t get enough of them. Mossi played Jackson so flawlessly – he oozed confidence and polish, and I never wanted his sections to end. If I went to see it again, it’d be to see his numbers once more. There’s a certain quality he brought to the role that you just can’t teach, and you can see he’s studied Michael for years – his mannerisms and movements were spot on. He’s worked hard to get from Dance Captain to where he is now, and it’s thoroughly deserved – I can’t imagine anyone else getting as close to such a flawless impersonation.
The opening is gripping, striking and a touch euphoric – although I’m sure that was aided by the thunderous audience around me. The opening vocalist’s silhouettes create the illusion of celebrity, and then the dancers astound with one of their more formidable routines – you could almost feel the high they were on, and performing very much at the absolute top of their game.
Young Michael is a brilliant touch. With the makings of a beautiful voice, and a range Mr Jackson is especially known for he really does tug on the audience’s heartstrings. With the dance moves to boot, he really did highlight just how far Michael Jackson came from his roots to the iconic performer we all knew.
The narrating between some numbers is a nice touch, it’s a cleverly segued change of pace, although slightly cheesy and overly rehearsed at times.
The songs with dance stories blew me away. I didn’t want to blink during ‘Beat It’ in the second act for fear I would miss an integral piece of storytelling dance, or a high lifted kick that was gone in a gunshot. The tension, story arc, and choreography of that number is something I could watch on repeat happily, and always find something new and so thoroughly thought out. The dancers mastered acting through dance, and Leona Lawrenson in particular is one to watch, although every dancer on stage brought something truly unique.
I did find I was waiting for at least some of the dancers to come back on during the ballads. The energy they brought when they were on was truly brilliant, and I felt the slower songs could’ve used them too. I understand they needed time to change and rest with such a high impact show, but just one or two slow dancers telling a story throughout the ballads would’ve added such a personal extra layer of meaning to Michael’s beautiful slower songs.
I do understand, for a full length show with a concert format, it’s especially difficult to keep the audience on their toes, focused and enjoying every moment. With this arrangement, it really can vary from number to number – so it’s to the shows credit that there were only a few numbers were I felt something else was needed.
The costuming is faultless and so thought out, and the make up to liken Mossi to Michael was so clever, I was wondering if Mossi had undergone surgery for the role.
If you’re a true MJ fan – I cannot fathom how Thriller Live would make you feel. It’s a spectacle, and if you missed out on ever seeing him live – this is the closest anyone will ever come to recreating the atmosphere and electricity he brought to the stage.
For people like me, who perhaps grew up just starting to know him before his passing, it’s amazing to really appreciate the entertainer that he was. It gave me a new found love for his dancing, his charisma and just how far he came to become the household name he always will be.
Review by Mims Melville
To book tickets for Thriller Live, visit their website.