Darlington Hippodrome – until 2 June 2018
Thriller Live arrives in Darlington as part of what seems to be a permanent tour. As well as wowing the regional theatres it is still playing at the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, where is as been playing since 2008 – making it one of the longest running shows in the West End. And if that’s not enough, it’s currently playing in 31 countries around the world.
Essentially this is a greatest hits album on stage; with the songs performed by a number of ‘Jackos’, of different genders, ages and races. Shaquille Hemmans, Adriana Louise, Eddy Lima, Rory Taylor and Resident Director Britt Quintin were all vocally outstanding, giving some amazing versions of Jackson’s songs. The production starts with the early sounds of the Jackson 5, actually starting from ABC, before giving us the best of his solo material, including the Thriller and Bad albums.
Dance moves such as the moonwalk brought cheers and applause from the audience, who were on their feet throughout the night singing and dancing to many of the familiar tunes. The dancing, it has to be said, shone along side the vocals, accomplished as they were, but let’s face it, Michael was all about the dancing, and it was mesmerizingly good throughout
Looking around the theatre it was evident that there is no age limit that hasn’t been introduced to Motown, Pop , Rock and R&B through the talents of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5.
Whilst all the vocalists were amazing, it was Rory Taylor who stole the show for me – his exquisitely haunting rendition of She’s Out of my Life and the thrilling rock vocals in Dirty Diana made Taylor my star of the show
The brilliant band (Andy Jeffcoat, Rob Minns, Allan Salmon, Jo Phillpotts, Gordon Wilson, Johnny Copland and Tom Arnold) mixed rock, soul and pop and provided emphatic musical support. It was fantastic to see them in vision during some of the show’s epic guitar solos.
Taken from us at the age of 50 Michael will forever live on and his classics such as Billie Jean, Thriller and Earth Song will forever be remembered by the talents of tonight performers. It is technical perfection, with the lights, the sound, the pyro’s and the staging all outstanding – a lavish celebration of the life and songs of the King of Pop and a wonderful night out.