“ On stage at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave London, W1D 7ES, England „
I haven't had a lot of success in the past with Red Letter Days. My wife bought me a driving day some years ago; it was rained off, after I had trekked all the way to Silverstone! This year she bought me a London show plus dinner; I checked out all of the shows they were offering (you don't get a free choice, only those for which they have obviously negotiated cheap tickets) but we had already seen almost all of them.
I left a choice nearly too late: they only give you a certain amount of time before the deal expires. Eventually, just days before it would be too late I discovered that Thriller Live had been added to the list; this I was happy to see.
The deal included a pre-show dinner and this was at the Raddison Edwardian Hampshire Hotel on the south side of Leicester Square. Nominally the meal was booked for 6.00pm, giving us an hour and a half. In fact we turned up at 5.30pm and they were happy to give us a table. The meal was actually very enjoyable and I would e more than happy to eat there again.
We turned up at the theatre (the Lyric on Shaftesbury Avenue) with a half hour to go and so were able to take our time. We had decent seats in the stalls with a good view of the stage. By the start of the show it was clear that it was going to be pretty well a full house.
We didn't know what to expect but it very soon became clear that this was not a show along the lines of "Mama Mia" or "We Will Rock You". This is not an attempt to manufacture a story based upon the lyrics of famous Michael Jackson songs: it's quite simply the story of his career in pop to the theme of an almost continuous performance of his well-known and also lesser-known songs.
The cast consists mostly of performers of whom you have probably never heard. Be that as it may, all of them are quality professionals, even the very young members of the cast, and the backing band. In fact, the best of all of them is actually the female lead singer, Trenyce, who is, apparently, a US X Factor finalist. I can understand why.
This is essentially a feel-good show for fans of Michael Jackson and on that score it in general it doesn't disappoint. I probably could have done without the "community singing" attempts at audience inclusion but that would be being picky. I suspect that the audience would spontaneously have been on its feet for the big numbers.
The only song that I did feel didn't entirely do itself justice was, ironically, "Thriller"! Left to very near the end, it did come over a little flat although most of the audience seemed to more than enjoy it so, perhaps that was just me.
Overall we did very much enjoy the show and I can certainly recommend it for anyone looking for an enjoyable night at the theatre in the West End.
Thriller Live is a 3 hour long musical, dedicated to the one and only Michael Jackson and also, The Jackson 5. Due to my age, I have never been able to experience the magic of Michael Jackson live, so as soon as I heard that Thriller Live was coming to my hometown I just had to get online and reserve tickets.
I was a little worried that this was going to be a show trying to make money out of Michael's untimely death and that the performing would be cheap and half hearted, especially compared to the man himself who was a true original. However I did read some excellent reviews online so I decided it would be worth seeing and I am so glad I did!
The first thing I will talk about is the price of the tickets. The prices range from £25-£60 depending on where you are seated, but this also depends on the arena the show is taking place in as well. I've heard that some prices go up to as much as £75. As I was about to reserve tickets, I noticed that there was a competition to win 2 free tickets to the show, so I decided to enter and somehow ended up winning! We were delighted, but at the same time a little bit nervous as we had no idea where we would be seated and wouldn't find out until the night of the show. I don't know how often these competitions take place or if this was a one off kind of thing, but I recommend entering before purchasing tickets, you may just have a stroke of luck! All in all though, I would say that the show is definitely worth the money that you would pay for the tickets.
As we arrived at the arena, we noticed around 6 stalls associated with the show selling Michael Jackson goodies such as Fedora hats, Souvenir programmes, White gloves, Glow sticks and even MJ underwear which was...interesting! The thing that disappointed me was the price of all the goods. One plain white glove was £14 and a fedora hat was £25 which I thought was ridiculous, so I would recommend bringing your own white glove or hat if you want to look the part for the show. I decided to purchase the Souvenir Programme for £6.50 which is an A4 booklet containing a short MJ biography and a little bit about the stars of the show. I would recommend purchasing this if you are ever to go.
We were escorted to our seats by some friendly staff dressed in fedora's and sequined jackets. We were ecstatic to find out our seats were 2 rows from the front on ground level. However as the show went on, this came to be a bit of a problem. The performers encourage everyone to get out of their seats to dance and enjoy themselves, but the people behind us didn't seem so keen on doing so, unlike us and the rest of the arena on the higher levels! This caused a bit of a conflict because the people behind us complained that we were blocking the view. We ended up dancing in the aisles instead along with alot of other people which was fun! So a word of warning would be that if you plan on dancing and standing up, book seats on higher levels were the seats slope downwards so you aren't blocking anyone's view. I think that this was the only downside of the night, but dancing in the aisles was fine for me and my friend!
So finally, on to the show. The first 5 minutes is a short tribute clip to Michael, showing some clips from his tours and talking about his record sales and his overall impact on the world. At the end of the clip, a man dressed in Michael Jackson attire came to the stage and sang a beautiful tear jerking rendition of 'Gone Too Soon'. The performance was really moving and had a lot of people clutching tissues. After this, the show starts running through the Michael Jackson era's starting with The Jackson 5 followed by The Jackson's, Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad and ending with Dangerous. I would have liked to have seen some songs from the HIStory and the Invincible era but I was content with the selection we got. I do not feel the need to review all 28 performances so I will pick a few of my favourite performances and explain why I enjoyed them and pick a few of the performances I was disappointed with.
The first performance which stood out to me was by Mytton Sanneh, a young boy around 10 years old. He sang Michaels hit 'Music and Me' and his voice was breathtaking. He had such confidence for a young boy and left the whole arena speechless. Another performance I loved was the Jackson 5 hit, 'Shake Your Body Down To The Ground'. A group of 5 guys, including the young Mytton Sanneh acted as the Jackson brothers and did it fantastically! They had the whole arena up dancing like lunatics and brought a really great 70's vibe to the room.
They then cleverly mixed 'Off The Wall' and 'Get on The Floor' together which, once again, had the whole room jumping up and down. Women came out skating in 70's diner girl outfits with trays of food and the whole stage was set up like a 70's diner with the older Michael impersonator, Dwayne Wint (who was also fantastic) in the middle. The atmosphere was incredible at this point and you could really feel the energy in the room. Then came 'Can You Feel It?' and this is when people began dancing in the aisles and really enjoying themselves. Strobe lights were flashing through the room and this time, the lead singer was Denise Pearson, an X Factor contestant from a few years back. To me, the show wouldn't have been complete without her. She was phenomenal and her whole style and stage presence reminded me of Janet Jackson.
After a few more songs there was a small 10 minute interval in which everyone around chatted to one another and made trips to the toilets and the bar. I think everyone was thankful that there was an interval at this point as the audience all seemed out of energy (as well as I) and needed a good rest! Then came the highlight of the show for me, which was Smooth Criminal. I have no words to describe how amazing this performance was, I was completely blown away. The dancers were absolute perfection and they completed the signature Smooth Criminal dance without any flaws, and also with the finale of the anti-gravity lean which had everyone up and applauding. This was without question, the best performance of the night.
Man in the Mirror then came after a few more songs, which, as you can imagine was beautiful. Everyone was up singing along and a lot of the women around me were actually crying, that is how powerful the voice of Leo Buchanan, the singer was. Then the one which everyone had been waiting for, 'Billie Jean' came on. Once again, this was an energy filled performance and for once, every single person in the audience was standing. The performer moonwalked, grabbed his crotch and did all the spins perfectly! My last favourite was the finale song, which was Black or White. All of the lead singers and dancers came on stage to perform this hit together and the whole room was just buzzing with energy and excitement.
One of the songs which I was disappointed in would be Dirty Diana. Dirty Diana is one of my favourites by MJ and I was really excited for it, however it lacked energy and enthusiasm from the singer who didn't really move for the whole performance apart from lifting his top up every 5 seconds which I didn't really appreciate! Another one would be Thriller, which again, I had high expectations for. The 'zombies' all had cheap looking masks on and the dancing was out of time. Also, you could barely see the performance as they kept blowing smoke from a smoke machine onto the stage. In no way am I saying these were bad performances, but compared to the rest they were weak.
Overall, this was an absolutely magical experience. The singing, dancing and actual performing was perfection. The little touches such as the costumes, lighting and timing just made the whole night. One point which I must make is that the performers do not try to be Michael Jackson. They simply take his singing and dancing techniques and incorporate them into their own which I thought was great. The whole room left the arena buzzing and talking about how brilliant the show was. I would definitely recommend this to all people, even if you are not the greatest MJ fan, I can assure you will have a brilliant time just due to the energy and atmosphere alone. If Thriller Live ever returns to the UK I will be sure to attend each time because of the brilliance of the show. Also, ensure you take a camera along with you!
The songs performed were:
ABC, Music and Me, Stop! The Love You Save, I Want You Back, I'll Be There, Ben, Show You The Way To Go, Shake Your Body Down, Blame It On The Boogie, Can You Feel It?, She's Out Of My Life, Off The Wall, Get On The Floor, Rock With You, It's The Falling In Love, Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', P.Y.T, Thriller, Beat It, Billie Jean, The Way You Make Me Feel, I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Smooth Criminal, Dirty Diana, Dangerous, Man In The Mirror, They Don't Care About Us, Heal The World, Bad and Black or White.
Overall, I would give the show 9/10. A brilliant night out that I will never forget.
I took my best friend to see Thriller a few months back for her birthday. We both love Michael Jackson and were looking forward to a day out in London.
Thriller is currently running in the Lyric Theatre, although I think its ending at the end of January 2010 - but don't quote me on that!
We knew that the show was going to be Michael Jackson songs but other then that, we weren't too sure of what to expect. We were also worried about poor impersonations and bad singing attempts, as MJ's voice was truly original.
I booked the tickets for £24 each as this was all I could afford at the time, and I knew our seats wouldn't be the best, as prices went up as far as £75.
We collected our tickets from the theatre when we got to London and went off to amuse ourselves until the show was scheduled to start. We were so excited!
When we got in the theatre we queued for a couple of minutes and then had to climb about 6flights of stairs to get to our level. I had heard that the Lyric Theatre is one of the oldest theatres in London and I knew it wasn't very big. What I wasn't told when booking my tickets was that the seats I had were the highest row of seats the theatre has to offer, which is fine, I have no problem with heights or anything, but we were so high up that the dip in the ceiling blocked half the view of the stage! The seats were not at a very good angle either, we were all pretty level and me being quite short meant that the people of front of me were completely blocking the whole stage off! I know I only paid £24 but I still expect a view of the stage for that price! So anyway, I was really angry by this as I felt so bad for my friend. The birthday present she was looking forward to so much ended up being the view of a row of heads (she said it was fine - but I am certain she was just being polite!)
The show started and we were loving the music (and the parts of the show we could see). The show was just music and a tiny bit of narration about Michael Jackson's career (it didn't focus on his personal life). The audience were encouraged to join in and dance, sing along etc so the atmosphere in there was electric.
You can't fault the performer's one ounce. They had the Jackson Five, Michael as a child, an adult black Michael and an adult while Michael and even a female Michael.
They were not trying to be Michael Jackson; I would say they were taking elements of his characteristics and being inspired by him. We got to the early 80s songs and had an interval.
One positive of our seats were that we were near the bar. Another negative was that we were also by the toilets and the doors, so were constantly being interrupted.
After the interval, one of the members of staff (ushers? I don't know their correct title) must've taken pity on us straining our necks, and she said there were two seats free on the first balcony. She'd barely finished her sentence and we were off! Much better, as we could see the whole of what was happening, apart from the left side of the stage. The show featured all of MJ's biggest hits and they put so much effort in to being respectful and original at the same time.
Some of the highlights were Thriller (as they got dressed up in their zombie gear) and Smooth Criminal - this performance was AMAZING! The man who was dancing had every single move down perfectly and it turns out he knew Michael Jackson and had worked with him for a very long time (read that in the program).
I would most definitely recommend seeing this show, go with a group of your friends and you will be buzzing for hours after - I am itching to go back!
The only thing I would say is to pay the extra and sit on the lower level, so you can enjoy the performance and see everything that is happening. If you are sitting on the balcony sections, sit on the lowest one you can and sit in the middle area, as each side will block off your view and this cant help but ruin the experience for you.
Having heard about this show in London, i couldn't wait to get my tickets when it came to my area on tour. Thriller Live is a concert-style show that celebrates the work of legendary performer Michael Jackson. This musical anthology begins with Jackson's early years as a teen sensation with the Jackson 5 belting out ABC with his brothers and sisters and Stop! Those looking for history of Jackson's personal life should look elsewhere as this theatrical extravaganza is a breathtaking celebration of a musician whose work spans over three decades.
Jackson's vocals are provided by six very different singers who all bring a certain magic to each instantly recognisable hit. MJ Mytton-Sanneh plays the bundle of energy that led the Jackson Five in a strikingly accurate vocalisation for hits such as I Want You Back and the delightful Ben. Being so young he was a fantastic vocalist and a great performer. Dwayne Wint, Hayley Evetts (from Pop Idol) and Peter Murphy help fill in the middle years and hits such as Blame it on the Boogie and Rock With You, while Michael Anthony Duke brings to the stage some of the classic choreography that epitomises Jackson's Thriller and Bad period, including the moonwalk and his groin-grasping, tip-toeing moves.
This is very much an ensemble company and the dance team here deserve a special mention. The choreography paints as lively and informative a picture of the changing decades as do Jackson's songs, and some of the set pieces, particularly the Billie Jean/Thriller/Bad set are, quite literally, thrilling (!)
If you like Michael Jackson but were not fortunate enough to grab tickets for his upcoming tour then this is definitely worth a night out. The cast include all of the audience and welcome you to stand up and dance to one hit after another with them. I will be going back next time they're in my home town, as the singers on tour are subject to change, so I can't wait for next time! Fantastic!
Thriller Live is currently showing at the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in London's West End, near Picadilly Circus and Leicester Squaretube stations. I grew up on Michael Jackson and am a huge fan and was lucky enough to catch a preview of this musical in January as my mum bought me and my brother's girlfriend tickets for Christmas. The musical previously toured the country a couple of times, before settling in the West End.
As with any London musical, ticket prices dpend on when you go and where you sit, however will typically range from £25 to £55. We sat in the stalls, however the theatre is not that big, so circle tickets wont mean you're miles away!
There isn't so much of a plot in this musical, more a tour throughout Michael Jackson's life. The first act is mainly about the Jackson Five and Michael's early solo success. There isn't an actor playing a specific part and they all split the songs relatively equally; this musical is more about the songs, the performance and the dancing so if you are expecting a We Will Rock You type musical, you will be disappointed.
The main vocallists are as follows:
Ricko Baird (world renown MJ impersonator)
Denise Pearson (She used to be in Five Star!!)
As we went to a preview, it could be expected that the cast would be a bit wary as they hadn't done many performances yet, however this was definitely not the case. The vocals were amazing, particularly from Denise Pearson (who also sported some AMAZING shoes!!) and the energy levels were really high, which meant people were getting up and dancing on numerous occasions during the show. The "young" Michaels rotate, however the one we saw was very impressive for such a young boy. The singers all interacted well with the dancers which led to a really great performance from everyone involved.
The songs in the show come in a logical order, like a timeline throughout MJ's life. I wont list them all, but they included:
I'll Be There
Blame It On The Boogie
Rock With You
Can You Feel It
Man In The Mirror
Black or White
As a MJ fan, obviously I loved all the songs, however even if you aren't that bothered about his music, the enthusiam and energy that they are performed with, will definitely get you smiling, if not dancing!!! I would probably say smooth criminal was my favourite, as I love the iconic look and the dancing, which was set the same as in the music video. Black and White was also a fantastic finale which the audience really responded to and the setting of the Jackson 5 songs really took you back to the 70s (or what I imagine they were like!!). I ended up singing Can You Feel It all the way home, throroughly annoying my brother's girlfriend and probably everone else on the train!
The staging was not that complicated, with lots of floor space for the dancing, however there was raised areas which the dancers climbed all over with some stairs, to keep the performances mobile, not letting them get stagnant.
The programme cost £7 and is red with a silver MJ on the front. It contains history of the musical, cast profiles, MJ info, set listings, creative team profiles, info on the theatre and lots of photos!
I thought this production was brilliant. I am ususally quite self conscious when people get up and dance in these kind of things, but I got so carried away with the music and energy, I didn't need much encouragement here!! Riko Baird's dancing was incredible, almost as good as the man himself, and I thought the whole show was slick, professional and brilliantly entertaining! One for fans and non-fans alike, this would be a perfect substitue if, like me, you missed out on MJ's tour dates!
A high octane show celebrating the career of the world's undisputed King of Pop - Michael Jackson, and the Jackson 5.