Review: Thriller Live at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Review: Thriller Live at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Review: Thriller Live at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

Cleo Higgins takes centre stage in Thriller Live.

Review: Thriller Live at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

First published in News
Last updated
Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FOR spine-tingling singing, dazzling dancing and non-stop hits, you simply cannot beat this.

The fact the audience – after singing and dancing for more than two hours – were still demanding more during a third standing ovation for the talented Thriller cast speaks volumes for the production’s class.

While the show is an unashamed celebration of Michael Jackson’s world-conquering music, you do not have to be a fan of the King of Pop.

It’s not a junk-box production in the same way Mama Mia weaves a storyline in between Abba’s hits.

Director and choreographer Gary Lloyd has simply put together a non-stop, high-octane, all-singing, all-dancing nod to the greatest performer of all time.

But then allegations of abuse, excessive cosmetic surgery and explaining Bubbles the monkey would have been a hard task for any script-writer.

The only narration sees the cast pay gushing tributes to Jacko, as they throw some of his mightily impressive stats at you on LED video screens - like an over-the-top X-Factor montage minus the annoying sob stories.

But within those narrow ‘concert’ confines, Thriller works wonderfully well.

It kicks off with a feel-good medley from the Jackson 5 days, diving straight in with I Want You Back, ABC and I’ll Be There – which shines an early spotlight on Cleo Higgins’ talents.

It really is hard to take your eyes off Cleo - who was a semi-finalist on The Voice and was one third of 90s pop group Cleopatra.

Her powerful and versatile voice, combined with her energetic dancing, steals the show and it is for that reason she has been called up to star in the West End version of Thriller Live.

Michael’s Motown magic gives way for the soul and disco days of his Off The Wall album, which spills into the second half as the hits keep coming.

Jesse Smith’s incredible gravely rock vocals tackle Beat It and Dirty Diana, which also includes an impressive guitar solo from MD Andy Chisolm.

The daring dance routines and spectacular set-pieces are stepped up a notch in the second half as we are ushered into Jacko’s glory days.

The entire cast - led by Jackson doppelganger Sean Christopher - puts on an incredible recreation of the Smooth Criminal routine from the Moonwalker film which, for me, was the highlight of the show.

Jacko’s campaigning side was showcased in Man in the Mirror, the thumping They Don’t Care About Us, Heal the World and Black or White.

Before Christopher dusted off the iconic white glove to recreate THAT Billie Jean live performance before pulling on the red jacket with the zippers as grizzly ghouls from every tomb closed in for the Thriller finale.

From the five talented lead performers, through to the sharp dancers, brilliant band and endless supply of smash-hits, Thriller Live is a wonderful reminder and celebration of Michael Jackson’s musical genius.

The only down side is all three nights at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre are sold out, with staff bemoaning the fact they could have sold out a whole week.

If you are lucky enough to have a ticket, lap it up.

If you don’t have one; beg, borrow and moonwalk outside the Waterside until someone takes enough pity on you to hand over theirs.

For a top night out, you can’t beat it - Thriller Live is simply thrilling.

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