Thriller Live – Review

William J Connolly
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7:45pm | Monday 21st October, 2013 | Sheffield Lyceum Theatre

A tribute show that belongs anywhere but a musical stage. 

Thriller Live tells the story of Michael Jackson through a backlog of his greatest hits sung by a group of theatre and ex-pop singers mixed with an ensemble of young, energetic dancers. Unfortunately, that’s where the show’s creativity ends. Sean Christopher brings a fantastic interpretation of the music icon and brings the legend alive with his replica Jackson vocals and killer dance skills, complete with moonwalk and all. Other than that, there is a distinct lack of substance.

However, not all is lost. The production does deliver vocally, on almost all occasions, with a team of ‘lead vocalists’ strong enough to fill a stadium. Cleopatra Higgins, more recently seen on The Voice for BBC and in the group Cleopatra, has a vocal gift. She leads all parts of the production and often turned the theatre into an explosion of applause seconds into a number. Nothing can take away from the ingenious musicality of Michael Jackson and the songs featured are the best part of your evening. The production’s band are wall-of-sound that brings the legend’s music alive. Although lead vocalists were singing the songs of Jackson, they were always tributes rather than impersonators.

Stand-out production numbers include ‘They Don’t Care About Us’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Dangerous’, ‘Off The Wall’, ‘ABC’, ‘Man In The Mirror’ and ‘Thriller’ to name but a few.

The Thriller Live ensemble, a great selection of energetic young dancers, gives the show the visual elements it needs, supporting the lead vocalists in almost every number. Special mention must go to an incredibly hardworking male ensemble, dancing, singing and leading almost every scene. The enthusiasm and energy was infectious, even to those not completely sold by the show.

The off-mic, poorly delivered narration by the production’s vocalists makes the black spaces between songs disconnected and disjointed. The large amount of blank faces and movement during these times was a testament to the audience’s poor interest in the story on offer. Thriller Live would be best suited to a holiday resort

For an evening of poor theatre but great music, Thriller Live would be for you. However, anyone with any theatre savvy or creativity, stay away. You’ll be glad you did.

Tickets available at

About William J Connolly

Theatre journalist | Ex: The Times Newspaper, London 2012 (PR) and Marketing Manager for CHTC (Sheffield Lyceum). Twitter: @WJConnolly