Thriller Live – Review

In a career spanning 40 years, Michael Jackson sold an unparalleled 750 million records worldwide with the Thriller album remaining the world’s best-selling recording of all time.


Bringing the legacy of the King of Pop to the stage is Thriller Live, which after a successful West End run, is on a UK tour stopping at the Opera House.

In its 5th year the show remains a hit with audiences – the opening night in Manchester packed full of a mix of both young and old.

Despite it having already made a whistle stop in our city before this was my first glimpse of the show and I must admit I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy it. My pre-conceptions were that it wouldn’t manage to entertain for the duration and could end up like a bad karaoke party.

I was pleasantly surprised and glad to be proved wrong.


If you are a fan of Michael Jackson you will love Thriller Live, which is by far the best tribute concert you could imagine. This is no biopic though, there’s no storyline to follow, it’s just some of MJ’s greatest hits belted out by a team of talented vocalists.

Manchester songstress and The Voice UK semi finalist Cleo Higgins leads the way with pitch perfect vocals that were made for singing Jackson tunes. Higgins has made no secret of the fact she is one of Michael’s biggest fans and it’s clear she is in her element here. Sexy, sassy and slick, Cleo is as fierce as her perfectly coiffured ‘Fro and her rendition of The Way You Make Me Feel is truly wonderful to watch.

If you are a fan of Michael Jackson you will love Thriller Live, which is by far the best tribute concert you could imagine.

Another of the lead vocalists to make their mark on Michael’s music legacy is long-haired rocker Jesse Smith. Smith gives us a different side of Jackson – an edgy, energetic, wild side that fits well with tracks such as Dirty Diana.

It’s not just the songs that make the show engaging there’s also some eye-popping video footage and special effects merged together with dazzling choreography by the show’s award-winning director Gary Lloyd.

Lead male dancer Sean Christopher is the closest looking of the cast to Michael and you can tell he has put the time in to mirror his moves and looks. It’s no mean feat to pull off Jackson’s fancy footwork but after 3 years in the show Christopher has got the essence and preciseness down to a fine art – the only downfall is that he often lip syncs to tracks and gets the timing out.

Sean and the dancers provide some stand out performances, especially in Smooth Criminal and Billie Jean (complete with infamous white sparkly glove). The audience go wild for the ‘moonwalk’ and the ‘45 degree angle lean’ which manage to stir excitement to the max as the iconic moments in pop are recreated before their eyes.

There’s not many people who can say they aren’t a fan of Michael Jackson’s music and if you visit the show during it’s week long run I can guarantee you will be moonwalking all the way home!

Thriller Live runs at Manchester’s Opera House till Saturday 1st February.



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