Friday, December 12, 2014

Thriller Live: not so thrilling {review}

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Photo of previous cast member
Aunty Penny and I were invited to see the preview night of Thriller Live last night. It's a bit of a treat to go out mid-week so I wore heels and lipstick. Fancy, no? 

I was excited to see the show because I'd heard a bit about it; it's been going for six years, five of those in the West End before heading on tour and meant to be jam packed with awesome tunes celebrating the career of Michael Jackson.

Now, I'm not a die hard fan of MJ, but I do know a lot of his songs and figured a show that condensed his best bits in to a few hours would be something an ordinary fan could really get in to, in the same way I actually enjoy 20/20 cricket but would sooner swallow razor blades than watch a test match. I don't want the whole back catalogue, but the iconic songs? Yes please.

It didn't get off to a good start with a cursor visible on the screens for a while and flashes of another program running. I work with duplicated desktops for presentations so I understand how one false move can spell disaster, and I know how much the lighting peeps would have been kicking themselves.

Opening the show was MiG Ayesa. He's a bloody talented dude. Sings. Dances. Probably can cook, too. However, he kinda sucks at an American accent. He spoke alone on stage at the very beginning and his accent kept changing every few words. American one second, Australian the next, then that weird inbetween "I grew up in multiple countries" accent. I don't understand why he had to put on an accent anyway. Just be you, man, you're freakin' awesome. 

Watching the first half it was evident all the singers were amazing. Samantha Johnson (I think?) blew me away. I'd pay to just watch her alone on stage, she was outstanding. But on the whole, something was definitely lacking. 

At intermission I turned to Penny and said "I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?" to which she replied, of course, "I think you can in Europe?". We were both just "whelmed". 

Photo of previous cast member
I was having trouble concentrating on the whole of the stage for parts of it because one of the dancers just seemed so out of place. Now, granted, she is at least eleventy billion times better at dancing than yours truly, but yet still it was just... awkward. I felt like she was an understudy, or that she had trained in classical ballet and came over to this style recently or something. Because she stood out from the others and not in a good way. I thought I must have been being unfair but after chatting with Penny plus bloggers Raychael from Agent Mystery Case and Jules from Zippy Zappy Life, I realized I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

I tried concentrating on the dancers that were my favourites; MiG Ayesa, a little pocket rocket chick with an awesome booty, and an afro-sporting dude that was a little easy on the eye. I leaned over to Penny and said I'd like to take him home and eat him on a crumpet. Tasty. 

There were definitely good bits. Moonwalks, crotch grabbing, the lean (I love the lean!), some cool outfit changes, and even pyrotechnics. Still just whelmed. I began to think that maybe I was missing the point, but Penny, who knew all the songs, was also a bit meh.

I felt the audience participation was a bit naff, though perhaps the die hard fans would be all in for it. I got my groove on towards the end of the second half and bopped along in my seat to Billy Jean. It finished and the lights stayed down in the annoying tradition of encores. Just play your show. Don't pretend to finish and then come back when the crowd cheers. We all know it's rehearsed so it takes away the true "screaming for more". I think this of every single concert I go to, not just for Thriller Live. Having said that, the encore was the only bit I found thrilling. If the whole show had been like that, it would have been brilliant.

Photo of previous cast member
For over $100 a ticket, even for the matinee shows, I don't really think I could recommend it as is. To only clap properly in the last fifteen minutes of the show is kinda disappointing. I can only hope the screen issues (which popped up again at the end) lack of flow and the dodgy dancer were just first night jitters. 

Do you like Michael Jackson? What is your favourite song of his?

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