Jackson: Not the Man In The Mirror

Thriller Live: The Michael Jackson Story, Ipswich Regent, April 11.THE fact that everyone in the audience loves the music of Michael Jackson is a given.

Kate McGrath

Thriller Live, Ipswich Regent, April 11.

THE fact that everyone in the audience loves the music of Michael Jackson is a given. Quite simply, if you're not a fan of his hits then this show is not for you. A celebration of his classics from the Jackson 5 to his solo career, the performance reminds you just how many showstoppers and anthems the great man has had.

It is little wonder the show is called Thriller Live, because it is ultimately Thriller the album which elevated Michael Jackson to the top of his class. Released in 1982, the album broke all records, with seven top hits including Billie Jean, Beat It, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and Thriller. He won 8 Grammy Awards, 7 American Music Awards and the Guinness Book of Records proclaimed it the Best Selling Album of all time. Decades later the songs have, undoubtedly, stood the test of time and are still being celebrated in this critically acclaimed touring show.

The cast was top class, with hypnotic dance routines mirroring Michael Jackson's moves, and flawless vocals. Ricko Baird, who has worked with Jackson in Dangerous and You Rock my World, is an outstanding dancer and singer. In the numbers Smooth Criminals, Bad and Thriller you could quite easily be watching Jackson himself. In fact he was so captivating it was hard to watch anyone else on the stage.

The leading lady, Hayley Evetts, was a finalist in the ITV reality-music show Popstars. Her voice was very powerful and suited Jackson's ballads perfectly, although at times I felt she was merely going through the motions in some of the dance routines. Special mention must also go to 14-year-old Dominic Smith, who, without a doubt, stole the show. He sang the hits of the Jackson 5 and a beautiful version of Heal the World. His standing ovation was well deserved. Other notable performances came from AJ Lewis, who sang my personally favourite Man in the Mirror, and Roger Wright.

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The show was undoubtedly a colourful bundle of high energy dancing, singing and great costumes - but unfortunately that's about it. I came away feeling as if it lacked something. I had rather hoped it would be a tale of Jackson's life with his hits tied in. But with little factual information given, I did wonder what purpose the show served. The show is cited as an 'opportunity to document the history of the one of the world's greatest ever entertainers'. Sadly playing his greatest hits on CD at home, might also have served the purpose just as well.

Kate McGrath

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