Show brings audience to their feet

THE enduring appeal of Michael Jackson's music can be judged midway through the first act of Thriller Live, when each and every member of a generation-spanning audience at Malvern Theatres is on their feet, singing and dancing along in unison.

Very much a celebratory affair, the show largely eschews Jackson's later work, instead hand-picking the most recognisable hits from his early work with the Jackson Five through to the hugely successful solo albums Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous.

These are presented in what is essentially a concert-style format, with only brief flashes of text and the occasional piece of narration breaking up the constant barrage of hits.

The songs are performed by an extremely talented cast of vocalists who manage to put their own stamp on each hit, while very deliberately referencing Jackson's unique mannerisms and vocal style.

They are ably supported by an energetic dance crew who sell Jackson's trademark moves to perfection, while big production values create a spectacle that never falls short of eye-catching.

One thing that should be made clear is that this is very much not 'Michael Jackson the Musical' - that will inevitably follow in years to come.

Instead, Thriller Live is very much a tribute to the music of Michael Jackson, content to let the songs do the talking without feeling the need to delve too deeply into the colourful life of the King of Pop.

And when you can fill two-and-a-quarter hours with hits including Billie Jean, I Want You Back, Man in the Mirror and - of course - Thriller, that is surely no bad thing.

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