MICHAEL Jackson was a legend of his time. The undisputed King of Pop may have died nearly five years ago now, but his iconic dance moves and catalogue of worldwide hits live on.
Thriller Live has become a firm favourite in the West End and extensive tours have given audiences across the country the chance to relive the infamous dance routines of Smooth Criminal, Bad, Thriller and Billie Jean. This week it is Bath’s turn to marvel in Michael’s magic as the show raises the roof at the Theatre Royal.
This touring production, first created in 2005 as a reincarnation of The Annual Michael Jackson Celebration and now a posthumous tribute, features five talented singers who take us through the decades of hits starting with the Jackson Five’s motown classics I Want You Back and ABC and a gorgeous rendition of the beautiful love song I’ll Be There by established solo artist Tyrone Lee and Cleo Higgins, former lead singer of 1990s R&B girl band Cleopatra.
Cue the glitter ball and sequined costumes as we move on to the disco age for Blame it on the Boogie, featuring plenty of audience participation, and Shake Your Body Now before the show turns to Michael’s solo career, kicked off with Dangerous and a haunting version of She’s Out of My Life by rock singer Jessie Smith.
Rock With You, Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough and Can You Feel It make for an enjoyable end to the first half but, with countless numbers from the world’s best selling albums ever, Thriller and Bad, it’s clear to everyone the best is yet to come.
A hugely energetic and trendy dance troupe look no finer than in a streetwise version of Beat It but it is the reworking of memorable video Smooth Criminal, featuring impersonator David Jordan, which really gets the party started. Jordan certainly looks the part in a clean cut white suit, white ankle socks and hat, and his dance moves were impeccable and well deserving of the rapturous applause he received.
And with Dirty Diana, Man in the Mirror and They Don’t Care About Us, things were only just getting started before a rousing company performance of Heal the World.
Of course, no MJ tribute is complete without that most memorable of dances, Bille Jean, and again Jordan didn’t let us down, generating the loudest applause of the night so far. Quickly followed up with a full copy of the dance video to Thriller, the most replicated routine of all time, even a usually stilted bath audience couldn’t contain its excitement and the finale of Bad, Black or White and reprises of Smooth Criminal and Thriller have everyone on their feet hollering ‘hee hees’ and ‘shamone’ at the top of their voices.
David Jordan clearly stood out as MJ himself but Cleo Higgins, Tyrone Lee, Jesse Smith and Lascel Wood helped show how Michael Jackson was not just a brilliant dancer but a hugely talented writer of pop, soul and rock songs. The live band also shows great diversity in playing so many varied numbers.
The costume department has also done a fantastic job on this show with plenty of us coming away wishing for one of those military jackets or sparkly leotards.
Thriller Live is on at the Theatre Royal Bath until Saturday, June 14.