January 19, 2016

Review “THRILLER” the West End stage show

As you know from my previous posting I loved and adored Michael Jackson. In my eyes the greatest pop genius of all time and never ever replaceable.  

I have to admit that I couldn’t listen to Michael’s music for the last six years. Yes, ever since he passed away whenever I’m somewhere and I hear his voice I can’t help myself: I get so emotional that I start to cry and I can’t stop my tears for a while. Even though I love every single song, they now make me sad and overemotional.

But as they say time heals. So this year I decided to finish 2015 with an emotional challenge. On New Year’s Eve my mom and I, we went to see the Musical THRILLER. To be honest I could never understand how millions of people could go and see the Musical just shortly after Michael passed away.
Sure the show is honoring his legacy. But for me I somehow felt guilty like I was betraying Michael, the exceptional artist with the most beautiful smile. A wonderful soul with a big heart and a symbol for perfection. Everything that he did was done with so much love and attention to detail.

I remember Michael Jackson once saying in an interview about his song lyrics and Music videos:  Every story has a beginning, middle and an ending”. Exactly, that’s how it should be. Like life: We are born, we live and then we leave.

So you can imagine that our expectations of the spectacular concert show of THRILLER, a celebrated West End stage show was extremely high. As a Musical lover we have already seen shows such as: “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Love never dies”, “ABBA”, “Hairspray”, “Elizabeth”, “Chicago”, “The Sound of Music” and “Joseph”.

And I must say the best shows of all are without a doubt the Musicals by Andrew lloyd Webber. And I’m not only talking about the great Music, but also about the story, the staging, the lighting, the costumes and the choreography. The whole package is pure perfection. How about THRILLER?

Gosh where should I start? First of all the title of the show. Well, when you hear THRILLER what do you expect from a celebrated show that is the legacy of the King of Pop? Perfection! Right? Was it perfect?
Well my answer will probably surprise you. But as you know by now I’m always 100% honest. No, in my opinion the show was not perfect and Michael would have never given his approval. As far as I know Michael was never involved with the production of THRILLER. He was informed about it but never creatively involved which explains it all.

When you look at the Image of Michaels double, a copy of Michael’s historical live performance of “Billie Jean” combined with the title THRILLER it is confusing. Would I personally combine the title THRILLER with the image of Billie Jean? No. But hey art is art. Right?

So what about the show? Now that I’m writing this review and look at the official website I understand why there was no storyboard - no beginning, no middle and no ending – like Michael would have expected it. On the website it is said: Unlike other West End productions, Thriller - Live is not a rigid book musical with set songs, but is a constantly evolving music concert celebration. “

Well that explains our struggle during the entire first half of the show. First of all we had no clue that there was no storyboard. I thought the first half would be dedicated to the Jackson 5 and performed by children on stage and after the break we would see the adult Michael Jackson.

To my surprise not only didn’t we see a group of kids, we had 5 people performing Michael at once. A talented kid and four adults. As if that was not surprising enough, one of the adults was actually a woman. Talented no question. But a Woman. That alone proves once again what a gifted performer Michael was —both as a singer and a dancer— so that they couldn’t actually find anyone who could complete the full package.

Michael was truly the one and only King of Pop and is and will always be irreplaceable!

The only positive thing about the first half of the show was the kid that truly touched us with his voice. I couldn’t help myself and yes, my mom and I, we both couldn’t hold back our tears. While I was watching this talented boy singing I was thinking Michael would have adored him and his voice. The highlight of the first half was actually the last song before the break “Can you feel it” where all the adult Jacksons were on stage and it was vocally a very powerful performance.
After the break, once we had accepted the fact that the show was performed by several Michael-wannebes we actually loved and enjoyed the second part of the show. Watching the female Lead vocalist, performed by Trenyce Cobbins without a doubt a talented, super sexy and gorgeous lady was first an emotional struggle. Especially when you have experienced the Original Live in Concert. But she had me with her performance of “The way you make me feel” which was spectacular in every way. Performance wise, vocally and especially choreographically.

From the three male Michaels the one that stood out the most for us was the Lead Vocalist Alex Buchanan, a gifted young man from Manchester. He has a bright future ahead and I have no doubt that his debut album will be a huge success.
The second part of the show was all in all very entertaining. The biggest Hits of Michael such as Bad, Smooth Criminal and of course Thriller were truly amazing and enjoyable. So this is probably the only explanation why the show is still running. Thanks to Michaels great music and dance videos.  
However to be completely honest I feel that if Michael had not passed away the show THRILLER wouldn’t have become such a success. The show without a storyboard only survived thanks to talented dancers and singers and the love for Michael and his music. Therefore I would not recommend the show to anyone who has ever experienced Michael live in Concert. Because in my opinion it is a disappointment for Michael lovers.  
Music: Although some of it playback, the combination of the 5 voices were clever. 10 stars from 10.
Choreography: Well, thanks to Michael the only good thing about the show! 10 stars from 10.
Stage: Too simple. No surprise, no effect and changes. 4 stars from 10.
Light: The show would be nothing without the magic of lights. 7 stars from 10.
Costumes: Even though “nasSima design” loves "bling bling" – but the first costumes for the Jackson 5 were too much razzle dazzle. The second half of the show with costume copies from Thriller, Bad, Smooth Criminal etc. were acceptable. 7 stars from 10.
The entire show: 5 stars from 10

Pictures Source: Google and offical Show Website http://www.thrillerlive.co.uk

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