Woking’s New Victoria Theatre hosts Thriller this week a celebration of the music of Michael Jackson.
With four main vocalists covering the diversity of Michael’s songs there was an opportunity to hear the harmonies arranged around them. The songs, more or less arranged in chronological order raised the energy of the audience at the start, the early ones such as Who’s Loving You and I Want You Back having people keen to enjoy the night. There was puzzlement in ABC where a child dressed in 70’s gear was on film miming to the song, with the dancers in full Pans People 1970’s kitsch regalia, surely either have a child actor/singer have the opportunity live to show their talent or show a film of Michael Jackson singing with the accompanying dancers?
The first half seemed very long with nineteen songs covered so though the vocalists were doing their best as well as the dancers and the dazzling light show the cast had to work hard to keep the audience attention.
Special mention needs to go to Shanice Steele the lead female singer and Rory Taylor who topped and tailed the range of vocals that Michael Jackson was known for. Taylor gave energy and grit to songs like Dirty Diana and Steele the earlier songs a powerful consistent vocal throughout.The musicians in the band gave a great show of expertise and the guitarists coming out to play to the audience gave it another layer their skill and showmanship a highlight for me. The disappointment for the MJ fan I was with was that the MJ character played by understudy Eddy Lima lip synced a great deal of his parts, his dancing however was flawless.
The dance routines did have flashes of brilliance but on occasion faltered, the routine use of the ‘hand on groin’ during nearly every dance routine seemed a bit ‘samey’ if I can use that technical term. In some songs the female dancers having very high heels fettered their athleticism brought back when they were equipped to actually dance, moonwalk sections were well executed and raised an enthusiastic reaction from the audience.
It’s hard to place a review when people are doing their best that doesn’t give a reflection of that. Each individual performer gave their best and their own contributions were fine, it’s just the whole that didn’t gel. There were too many songs crammed in so after all it lost it’s impact, I was looking at the programme to see how many were left. It felt like a holiday camp version without the crazy golf afterwards option.
There are times you want to be witty to be kind, and times you just can’t be bothered and this is one of them. I’m sorry Thriller but on occasion it was only mildly chafing. If you want to ignore me and I completely understand that a curmudgeon like me might not be on your wavelength my MJ fan accompanying me loved it (apart from the lip sync) and a little boy thanked his Dad for the best birthday present he ever had. Curmudgeon I may be but I did try a moonwalk in my socks on the kitchen floor to find the wine to write this review.
Thriller is at the New Victoria Theatre until Sat 7 May 2016 tickets available from http://www.atgtickets.com