THRILLER: LIVE GALA PERFORMANCE FEATURING PETER ANDRE | London, Lyric Theatre

West End concert spectacular Thriller: Live, now in its tenth year at the Lyric Theatre, celebrated its record-breaking 4000th performance in a gala charity performance to raise funds for The Prince’s Trust. Naturally, this came with a few special surprises for fans. John Culshaw and Russell Kane took to the stage – the former doing his best to shoehorn political satire into MJ lyrics, and the latter squeezing the last drop of comedy out of our Love Island ‘celebrity guests’ and Brexit.

Peter Andre topped the bill, giving a star turn for three key performances. His style of flirtatious hip-thrusting was most suited to “Rock with You” and he really came into his own for his rendition of “Man in the Mirror” – reminding the non-believers just why Pandre has been on the scene for nearly three decades.

And the real stars were, of course, the stalwart performers of the West End cast. Never have I witnessed an ensemble so tirelessly professional and achingly fit. High kicks, twerking, backflips and moonwalking: these Pretty Young Things had all the right moves, and had clearly studied Jacko’s most famous shapes. The obvious stand out was Kieran Alleyne, playing the role of ‘Smooth Criminal’ MJ. Not only did his dancing embody the mix of isolation and frenetic detail that Jackson was so known for, but his vocal performance at times sounded like the real deal. Mimicry was also a strong point for Haydon Eshun, whose soulful voice hit the high-notes in all senses.

Thriller: Live doesn’t engineer MJ’s hits into a West-End friendly storyline; it’s more like glorified karaoke. It is unapologetically camp, maybe one song too long, and hugely OTT, but it even had me, a grumpy mid-week critic, on my feet for the finale, dancing along with one of the West End’s most inspiring casts.

Book tickets online for London’s Michael Jackson experience.

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