Thriller Live

Darlington Hippodrome until Saturday, June 2

WHEN you leave a theatre beaming from ear to ear with hands raw from clapping, you know you have had a good night.

This was certainly the case when my friend and I watched Thriller Live at Darlington Hippodrome on Monday. The spectacular concert celebrates the musical career of Michael Jackson, from the early years with The Jackson 5 to his phenomenal success as a solo artist.

I have always loved the King of Pop but seeing his work recreated on stage by an immensely talented cast of singers, dancers and musicians reminded me of just how legendary he was. Jackson’s voice, song writing skills and choreography were awe inspiring, and Thriller Live encapsulates the excitement his music evokes.

Unlike many West End shows inspired by famous acts, the production focuses purely on the music, with no storyline linking the big choreographed numbers other than anecdotes from Jackson’s own life. However, such is the strength of the music and dancing that it was all the better for this.

The cast performed all of Jackson’s greatest hits, with a passion only achieved by truly loving the music. I especially liked the fact that there were several lead vocalists who all brought their own magic to the stage.

And then there was the dancing - cool, slick and full of energy. A special shout out must go to the North-East’s own Gustave Die, from Crook, whose dance moves and acrobatic ability drew gasps of wonder from the audience.

We left the theatre desperate to hit the dance floor but, with the prospect of work the next morning hanging over us, we contented ourselves with singing along to Thriller at the top of our voices on the drive home.