UKTW - 25 years online

Thriller Live!

4
Thu, 12th Dec 19
Michael Jackson tribute show seen in London with Peter Andre.

Peter Andre fans will love it. He shows his usual swagger in echoing his hero, though he can get repetitive with the signature moves and is a little slow getting up from his knee-drop. Time is beginning to tell, but his delight in the performance adds a heart-warming personal element: surely he was born to do this.

The show does not really need him, as the undoubted star is always Michael himself. There is little about the man, they let the songs speak for themselves. And what brilliance they evoke! So many performers share the spotlight doing remarkable homage to the Man. It's annoying that the programme identifies them all as vocalist or dancer, so it is hard to identify and credit individuals. My choice of the vocalists gave us "She's out of my life" amongst many others. In his white suit for "Smooth Criminal", this dancer and vocalist came closest to the pure line of Jackson's moves.

The LED set with changing pictures began to irritate me as it worked in blocks rather than detail. There is an impressive array of costume, from his childhood onwards – I remember those tight flares from his early years.

The band pump out energy in depth, driving the show forward relentlessly. The guitarists even get to emerge from their cave for a couple of songs.

The cast bounces with energy, maintaining high level moves and vocals as they share the focus. Many favourites are included, along with some lesser known, but it all leads up to a stunning quartet to end the show: Bille Jean into Thriller into Bad into Black or White.

Not so much a musical in my terms, but a celebration concert of the sublime music and performance of Michael Jackson. By not matching the original virtuosity, they make the memory of Michael shine all the brighter. And although such a long-running production, it barely shows its age. Just what we need on a cold winter night.

Derek Benfield


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