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Author Topic: Review of Thriller Live from South Africa  (Read 1185 times)

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Offline moonstreet

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Review of Thriller Live from South Africa
« on: August 19, 2010, 08:43:00 AM »

Theatre Sports
Michael Jackson spotted in Johannesburg?
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Even Neil Armstrong expects to find Michael Jackson top of the page, when he Googles the words “moon walk”. And somehow the moonwalk seems to symbolise much of what Michael Jackson is and was; a gravity-defying fascination, a burning star that appeared to be from out of this world.

I recently attended the opening night of the musical Thriller Live at The Teatro at Montecasino and it really got me thinking about the power of Jackson. The show consists of almost two hours of music and some of the songs were written more than thirty years ago. It is pretty amazing that the audience was singing along to every lyric of every song. Michael Jackson produced so many brilliant songs in his relatively short lifetime. It doesn’t seem humanly possible for one individual to have created so many hits. His music is timeless, contradicting the laws of pop culture, which has little tolerance for that which is past its ‘use by’ date. Incredibly, Jackson’s music seems untarnished by time.

We love his music but Michael Jackson is more of a phenomenon than simply an artist or a singer. There are so many jaw-dropping facets of his extraterrestrial persona. We saw the soft side of him that wanted to HEAL THE WORLD in contrast to the BAD boy image and later his alleged SMOOTH (or is it slimy) CRIMINAL behaviour. We were never really sure if he was BLACK OR WHITE and in the end he just couldn’t BEAT IT.
Talk about life imitating art. If Jackson’s life story were a fictitious movie script, it would be slated by critics as preposterous and far-fetched.

Despite the outlandish stories of Neverland, a melting nose and a drug overdose, Jackson is an undeniable revolutionary of our century. His footprint on our earth has changed the course of music, dance and entertainment as we know it. Jackson’s unique style of dance was undoubtedly influenced by greats such as James Brown, Elvis and the legendry choreographer Bob Fosse (Chicago, Cabaret and Sweet Charity) but he took those inspirations and created a way of moving that was identifiable, unique and thrilling for an audience. His strong style, characterized by isolations and popping moves, is alive and well if you look closely at the current trends in dance styles including hip hop, crumping, popping and locking.

In 1983 Jackson had two simultaneous Top 5 Hits with Billie Jean and Beat it. The music videos made for these two songs were artistically ground breaking and were flighted on MTV even though MTV did not really feature Black artists at the time. In this way, Michael broke down colour barriers becoming the first African American to be featured on MTV. Both videos and MTV itself became massive hits, perpetuating the channel and Jackson’s music.

Michael Jackson has influenced the world of entertainment more than we realize, touching music, dance, television, celebrity and popular culture. Thriller Live is a stage show directly from The West End of London, celebrating the music of Jackson. The show is currently on at The Teatro at Montecasino until Sunday, 5 of September 2010. It then moves to Grandwest Casino in Cape Town from Thursday, 9 September to Sunday, 12 September 2010. The show is a fun night out and features a British cast of singers and dancers including 15 year olds Kieran George Alleyne and Jordan Bratton who represent Jackson’s younger self. The two young talents alternate the role and certainly add something special to the show.

It is really not a question of how big of a fan one is. The music of Jackson is the soundtrack to our childhoods, bringing back the memories of a first kiss, a new puppy or a broken heart. A show like Thriller offers warm nostalgia and another chance to be in absolute awe of a man, his moonwalk and his music. One small (dance) step for man but a giant leap for mankind.