Anne Hailes reviews @thrillerlive at @grandoperahouse

20130924-102143.jpgTHRILLER LIVE
Grand Opera House Belfast
28th September 2013

On Monday night The Grand Opera House was in top form for this show, the man in the row behind had seen Jackson perform live years ago so he brought his little son to share the excitement and he was just as enthusiastic.

Some of the audience found it hard to control their delight and the body popping on stage was rivalled by the body popping in the stalls and the boxes were rocking.

And who says it’s a waste of time entering for X Factor or The Voice? Certainly for Cleo Higgins, finalist in The Voice it has paid dividends, she’s now lead vocalist in this sparkling musical, Thriller Live, with X Factor, finalist Rachel Adedeji is also in the cast.

At first I thought this was just a concert of Jackson hits linked by facts surround this phenomena, this global icon, the most successful entertainer of all time (Guinness World Records) yet something of a tortured soul. We heard Jackson Five numbers from 1964, through to Thriller in the early 80s (the best selling album of all time), and Dangerous produced in 1991; it’s incredible to realise these songs and videos have delighted and excited so many generations, and it’s obvious they are as popular today as they were then.

Monday was the opening night of the 23 venue tour. It burst into the theatre, and we were no sooner seated than the cast were demanding we get on our feet and feel the music, and it was bright lights and boogie from then on.

The lead vocalists, Tyrone Lee, Jesse Smith and Lascal Wood sang their hearts out, as Louis Walsh would say, they owned the stage, while Sean Christopher, who sang and danced as Michael Jackson, nailed it.

The first half was good but a lot of Michael Jackson’s early music was a bit samey, however, something happened during the interval and Cleo Higgins especially came back having settled into the role and the new theatre and really gave it some welly.

The lighting and special effects brought the stage to life but it was the band that made the show and a guitar solo brought the house down. The most popular numbers involved the Jackson staccato moonwalking, hat over his face, white fingertips and jewelled glove. The boy and girl dancers were brilliant, they kept their individuality but the routines where precision was vital, they in unison.

Towards the end of the show, the lights dimmed and the tomb stones appeared on the backdrop, it was a warning that the ghouls were coming out of the grave yard and so they did as ‘Thriller’ invaded the auditorium; the undead crawled forward and then, horror of horrors, three of them appeared from the audience and slithered onto the stage.

A great night. Once we got over the HIStory lesson at the beginning and the scene was set, it was a matter of sitting back and enjoying, rather sitting on the edge of your seat and participating.

I was disappointed about one thing. I simply wasn’t able to work out how to moonwalk. However ‘Thriller Live’ is on until Saturday 28th September so plenty of time to pop back and study.

Details at

Check all Anne Hailes Belfast Times reviews here.


Post Author: Belfast Times

Leave a Reply