Thriller Live! Is The Perfect Celebration Of The King Of Pop’s Career

Thriller Live! Is The Perfect Celebration Of The King Of Pop’s Career

The plot is quite loose at times, and the show often feels like more of a concert than a live stage performance a lot of the time, but Thriller Live! is a fitting tribute to the life and career of the great Michael Jackson.

The show wrapped up its most recent running, at the Theatre Royal in Brighton, on 11 January. However, it has been dazzling crowds for over 11 years, so there is an excellent chance it will return shortly.

The two-and-a-half hour-long show was created by a family friend of Jackson, author Adrian Grant, and first hit theatres in the United Kingdom in 2007. It was an instant hit and has since travelled worldwide to countries as diverse as the music, such as China, South Africa, Japan, Egypt, and Israel.

Grant’s affiliation with the Jackson family began in 1988 when he started a British fan club and was invited to the recording of Michael’s 1991 album Dangerous. He has maintained a close relationship with the family since and was the driving force behind creating an annual Michael Jackson tribute show in the UK starting in 1991. There aren’t many people as qualified as Grant to put on a show like Thriller Live! and it shows in the quality of the production.

It also makes sense that the show would be welcome and well-received worldwide considering the legacy that created Michael Jackson’s career. He was declared the King of Pop in 1993 based on his dominance of the pop charts throughout the 1980s largely due to the overwhelming success of the album Thriller.

It is telling that no one has been able to usurp his throne since, even after his tragic passing in 2009. Jackson’s legacy still influences popular culture to this day, with an upcoming film based on his life to be written by the same person who did the critically acclaimed Bohemian Rhapsody film, John Logan.

There is also a console and arcade game titled Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker inspired by the anthology musical film of the same name. Even the iGaming industry has been influenced, and there is an officially branded Michael Jackson King of Pop slot game that is included on most of the lists of best online slots available.

Those looking for a narrative biography of his life and career should probably stick to the films mentioned above because Thriller Live! is not that by even the barest of margins. It can’t even be considered a musical. It feels far more like a cabaret than a classic theatre production.

Each song is performed by someone new, so there is no Michael Jackson “character”, and it has no concurrent storyline at all. For those familiar with talent shows, it feels distinctly like a live audition for Pop Idols or X-Factor, except all the performers are professionals and universally chose to do songs by Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5.

Those arriving at the theatre expecting a traditional show are set for disappointment, but that isn’t to say Thriller Live! is not worth viewing. The opposite is true as the show is a refreshing take on live performance and a wonderful celebration of Jackson’s music catalogue. Fans of Michael Jackson, music in general, or even just fun stage shows will have a ball at Thriller Live! and it is definitely worth your time when it returns to theatres sometime soon. Keep your eyes peeled!