Review: Thriller Live @ Palace Theatre, Manchester

Thriller Live brought Michael Jackson’s heart, soul and iconic moves back to life at the Palace Theatre.

The King of Pop’s hit-laden career was showcased seamlessly by a revolving cast of vocalists and dancers who had the audience up on their feet.

The journey began with The Jackson 5’s soul years, including I’ll Be There and I Want You Back where the harmonies were tight and the high notes were hit.

A choice to prioritise the cast’s vocals over their visual likeness to Michael and his brothers certainly paid off. This era was all about the music.

LED screens successfully set the mood for each song, particularly when matching the outrageously-coloured costumes during disco-era-favourite Blame It on the Boogie.

DANCING: The hits got the audience up on their feet

Lighting and smoke machines allowed the stage to transform into famous MJ music videos including Egyptian-themed Remember the Time, complete with two punkah wallahs.

The cast cleverly pitted both sides of the theatre against each other during Shake Your Body, getting them on their feet to sing ‘let’s dance’ or ‘let’s shout’.

Rory Taylor’s spotless vocals during a touching rendition of She’s Out of My Life then provided a welcome break from the high energy.

The live band remained hidden behind a screen between their introduction and the final bow, but their performance’s incredible similarity to the studio-recordings formed the show’s realism.

Beat It’s electric guitar solo was given the attention it deserved, with the instrument being played high on the steps that lined either side of the stage.

Lead vocalist Adriana Louise added an individual spin to The Way You Make Me Feel, slowing the tempo before the original version, driven by the band, took over.

The brilliant Britt Quentin then proved he’s far more than just a lookalike when he pulled off the signature moonwalk and anti-gravity lean during Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal.

The backing dancers also replicated Michael’s iconic moves in time with LED silhouettes, a technically original addition to the act.

Thriller’s other vocalists assumed singing duties to accompany Quentin’s dance-heavy numbers, a production masterstroke that kept the quality of both elements high.

With a trilogy of Man In the Mirror, They Don’t Care About Us and Earth Song, all the cast’s vocalists reflected Jackson’s desire for world peace.

John Lennon, Martin Luther King and Barack Obama were all displayed on the centre-stage LED screen before an image of the man himself closed the section to rapturous applause.

The crowd were back to their feet for Thriller, which brought the infamous music video, and the zombies, back to life through great costumes and choreography.

Black or White followed by a Smooth Criminal and Thriller reprise left the audience in high spirits after witnessing what appears to be the next best thing to seeing the King of Pop himself.

*Thriller Live is showing at the Palace Theatre until Saturday, February 25 Feb. You can buy tickets HERE.

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