Lyric Theatre, London
Conceived by Adrian Grant
Directed and choreographed by Gary Lloyd
Invited back to Thriller Live as the show celebrated its 2,000th performance at London’s Lyric Theatre gave another opportunity to take a look at this most slick of musicals. The show was reviewed in some detail back in January of this year, but this particular visit gave an opportunity to see a new cast step up to performing the songs of the King of Pop. The show was fabulous a few months ago and it proves to be even better with the return of Zoe Birkett.
A Pop Idol finalist of some ten years ago, Birkett has since had a phenomenally busy showbiz career and was last seen by this blog stealing every scene she appeared in, in Rent at Greenwich. Birkett is also no stranger to Thriller Live having not only “previous” from the London Lyric production, but has also spent the last six months playing her role in South America. She knows the part of Janet Jackson intimately and brings a zest to the performance that is simply breathtaking.
Taking the principal role of lead singer through the show, Britt Quentin captures the style and presence of Jackson with flawless voice and dance work. Latin heartthrob Ricardo Afonso assumes the Jacko persona for two songs in particular, Dirty Diana and She’s Out Of My Life giving an almost electric tenderness and sensitivity to the latter number. It was pleasing to see young Eshan Gopal remaining juvenile enough to play young Michael. The kid sings, dances and moonwalks with ease. Cute for sure, but incredibly talented with it.
Gary Lloyd’s choreography and John Maher’s arrangements, praised here in January, remain as fresh and perfectly performed as ever. On paper, Thriller Live is simply another juke-box musical showcasing Jackson’s work. Live and on stage, it remains a sublimely designed tribute to the vision and the sound of the man. It continues not only to celebrate Michael Jackson’s songs but also to showcase some of the most talented performers and musicians to be found on a London stage.
Now booking to 2014