THRILLER LIVE review LEEDS GRAND
Review – April 2017
Leeds Grand Theatre
by Daniel Roach
So, the King of Pop lives. Thriller Live at Leeds Grand Theatre attempts to take the audience on a musical journey, starting way back where it all began to 1968 with classic Motown anthems such as ‘I Want You Back’ and ‘ABC’.
The show combines dancers with four main vocalists. Leading the four is Britt Quentin. He hosts the show and performs in many of the songs. Britt’s a lively character focused on energising the audience and setting the tone for the evening. His rendition of ‘Dance and Shout’ succeeds in raising the audience up on to their feet as they join in with the show.
Thriller Live: “Pyrotechnics have the audience cheering”
Rory Taylor, another of the lead vocalists, has a fantastic vocal range and delivers a stellar performance. He has many solos, including the tricky ‘She’s Out of My Life’, but here he delivers a touching and memorable performance that does Jackson justice.
After following Michael Jackson’s career for many many years, I know how particular he was when it came to selecting dancers for his shows. Therefore, I am expecting perfection in this department. Unfortunately, at various points in the show, dancers are clearly out of sync. It looks a little clumsy – unprofessional, even. Yet at other times, when it all comes together, it is fabulous and spectacular. There’s moonwalking and back flips and all the other iconic Jackson motifs – but this element of the show really should be watertight to be called a true homage.
The staging is bright and ever-changing, using an array of screens with alternating images to suit the songs. There are pyrotechnics which have the audience cheering – it’s simple but highly effective.
‘Thriller’, the track, is performed late in the show and does not disappoint. With a chill in the air you are taken down memory lane, back to the legendary music video. It’s a perfect facsimile as the cast act out the ‘mini-movie’ on stage. The costumes, too, are suitably gruesome.
‘Thriller Live’ is a colourful celebration of Michael Jackson’s life that die hard fans cannot fail to love. However, hardened theatre-goers might want to see some of the rougher edges ironed out. But what can never fail is the power of the songs. As ever, they keep you singing for days after.