Thriller Live (Birmingham)

Just one of the festive offerings in Birmingham this Christmas, Annette Nuttall reviews ”Thriller Live” at the ICC Theatre

A successful West End show, Thriller Live comes to an underused venue in Birmingham, The ICC Theatre.

This isn’t the story of Michael Jackson, neither is it a concert or a story told using his songs. This is a tribute to the music he created and his dynamic showmanship.

There are five lead vocalists showcasing the different sides and ranges of Michael Jackson. Cleopatra Higgins performs a stunning version of "The Way You Make Me Feel", throughout the show she shone. The slightly rockier numbers were performed with flair and style by Jessie Smith, Tyrone Lee and Lascel Wood took on some of the earlier numbers effortlessly with Lee doing the narration between a few of the songs. Some of the more iconic songs and dance routines were given to moonwalking David Jordan, paying tribute but not impersonating. While the performers may have picked up Jacksons vocal mannerisms, they were never trying to be him.

The dancing in this production was outstanding, the stunning choreography expertly performed with exuberant energy. "Smooth Criminal" and "Dirty Diana" were stand out numbers for me, the style was carried through the dancing, costumes and lighting; truly a delight. It almost seems unfair to pick out individual numbers, the dancing was excellent throughout.

With concert production values, in a theatre setting, this show is a feast for the eyes and ears. The use of lighting to change the scene on an otherwise fixed set, is inspired. While for some, the music with the bass line vibrating within you, may be a little loud, in this context I feel it works.

There was a slight technical hitch in the second half, but the audience were so enthralled with the show, they started singing spontaneously. Everyone was on their feet by the end before the cast had a chance to ask for it.

This is the ICC’s first foray into this kind of show. With the quality of facilities available for productions and audience alike; I would like to see more shows here. It feels more intimate than some venues yet it is still spacious and comfortable.

This high energy show has a party feel to it, perfect for this time of year. It is polished but packs a sparkly gloved punch and attitude. It really is a Thriller of a show.

– Annette Nuttall