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Review: Thriller Live at the Liverpool Empire

The initial thrill soon became overkill

Smooth Criminal featuring Sean Christopher as Michael Jackson in Thriller Live

A show with stunning choreography, dancing to die for and some of the best songs on the planet only gets a two star rating. How can this be?

Thriller Live at the Liverpool Empire Theatre is a celebration of the music of the King of Pop Michael Jackson.

Following Jacko's demise in 2009 my then 13-year-old daughter lamented: "Imagine being born after today mum and never knowing Michael Jackson." He wasn't a family friend but her feelings are testament to the effect the star had on us all, with a career spanning four decades from his childhood with the Jackson 5, through the Motown years, to being Bad and Dangerous.

Like all musicals that are essentially an opportunity to show off an artist or group's work, I expected a vague storyline as a conduit to share the music, like the soppy storyline of Mamma Mia that gives us ABBA's greatest hits or the futuristic We Will Rock You, which plays homage to the great Queen.

But this is really just a treasure trove of many of Jackson's songs, in a two-and-a-half hour showcase, and the initial thrill soon becomes overkill.

The singers and dancers of Thriller Live in action

We start in the 1970s, with all the fabulous retro costumes you can imagine and who can't help get in the beat with ABC and then Blame it On the Boogie. A minimal spot of narration reminds us where we are in the chronology and we are bombarded with hit (and some lesser remembered songs which could have been left out) after hit.

The performers are not to blame. Sean Christopher as the man himself was note-perfect, step perfect and moonwalk perfect with all the staccato body popping, mime and jazz moves that Jackson is remembered for. His rendition of Billie Jean was fabulous although I was a little underwhelmed by Thriller itself.

The lead singers - Wirral's own Rory Taylor, Adam J Bernard, Shaquille Hemmans and Angelica Allen - are more than just the other four of the Jackson 5 and the dancers strut their perfectly choreographed stuff.

But I felt a bit like I had opened a family size box of chocolates to choose a coffee creme and had ended up finishing the lot.

Michael said: 'Don't Stop Til You Get Enough' but by the end I had had just that.

Die hard Jackson fans will no doubt love the show, and many were up dancing in their seats to their favourite tune, but I came away stuffed full, yet unfulfilled!

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