It took a lot of convincing to get me seated at the Lyric Theatre waiting to be entertained by the cast of Thriller Live. Anyone that knows me knows that I love my musicals, my sister and I have probably gone to every musical worth seeing in the West End…and that includes some awful ones as well. I wasn’t convinced that Thriller would be any good partly because I assumed it would be a musical with a storyline that, like Mama Mia, would work in Michael Jackson songs at every turn. I don’t dislike the concept at all, Mama Mia was fantastic when I saw it in theatre (the movie is a different story – Pierce Brosnan should remember singing is not for everyone) and I recommend it to anyone who likes a good show however I also saw We Will Rock You in theatre and that is where the problem lies. Although the singing was really good, from the start it was clear that the storyline was going to be weak – in fact it was almost nonexistent. By the time we stood up to leave, our heads were filled with wonderful Queen tunes but we were so confused by everything else that I was pretty sure some of our braincells had been left behind as well.
So when Thriller was proposed to me, I thought “No way! I’d rather sit home and listen to my Essential Collection disc” and wrinkled my nose with disapproval. I managed to keep this up for a few months – nose wrinkling becomes an art after a while – but last weekend when the offer was made again, I had less reason to say no. This was partly because the tickets on offer were heavily discounted but also because a third party was really keen on seeing the show and I didn’t want to be the one whining about how bad I thought it was going to be. So on Sunday afternoon, we dragged ourselves to Shaftesbury Avenue and waited for the curtains to rise. Without giving much away, it was one of the best shows I’ve seen in recent years. And why? Because unlike We Will Rock You, it was not a musical but a good old fashioned show that had no storyline trying really hard to keep in line with the songs.
It was over two hours of pure entertainment, the performers all sang and danced their hearts out and even got us on our feet joining in, pretty much like a real concert. It was exactly what a tribute should be – good songs performed really well and no gimmicks. I couldn’t stop talking about it afterwards and almost felt bad for having thought so poorly of it without giving it a chance. I wont say anymore but it is now highly recommended by this passionate lover of all things musical. The only disappointment of the evening was when I found out one of the cast I ogled all through the show was only 19! 19! I won’t say how many years there are between us but I still say he was singing directly to me for most of the show (and no I am not a groupie!). I think maybe I’ll just end this here.