Jackson tribute show is a real thriller


The music of Michael Jackson has played a part in many people’s lives over the years.

And even now, five years after his death, his music lives on.

Cleo Higgins stars in 'Thriller Live'

Cleo Higgins stars in 'Thriller Live'

One way in which the music continues to be a huge hit with fans of all ages is through the hit musical production ‘Thriller Live’, which comes to Fife on its only Scottish tour dates later this summer.

The production, which has been in London’s West End since 2009, comes to the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline for a three day run from Thursday, June 5 to Saturday, June 7 and is celebration of the music of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5.

Unlike other West End productions, ‘Thriller Live’ is not a rigid book musical with set songs - it’s a constantly evolving music concert celebration.

And when the theatre production comes to the Kingdom, fans of television series ‘The Voice’ will recognise one of the cast members.

Cleo Higgins, Will.I.Am’s contestant in the 2013 series of ‘The Voice’ stars in the show.

Last week the former lead singer of the 1990s pop group Cleopatra took time out of the production’s tour in Switzerland to speak to The Press ahead of the Dunfermline date.

She said: “I’m really excited about it.

“Scotland’s one of my favourite places in the UK.

“I love it. We have one person from Glasgow in the show and she is looking forward to getting back to people that she can understand.

“I’m really looking forward to it to be honest.

“For the most part of the tour this time we’ve not touched Scotland.

“I’ve genuinely been disappointed by it.

“I think the closest we’ve been is Carlisle so far.

“So we’re excited that this time we’re actually coming to Scotland.”

Before appearing on ‘The Voice’ - where she made it through to the semi final - Cleo had previously been in the pop group with her sisters and signed to Madonna’s label Maverick when she was just 13.

Cleopatra had three Top 10 hits, supported the Spice Girls, had two TV series and even performed concerts at the Vatican.

But now that she’s part of the Thriller Live production it’s about a whole lot more than just the singing.

Cleo continued: “For me originally it was quite daunting and we learned it in different stages and the first part we learnt last.

“It’s a strange and different world for me.”

The show brings to life the distinctive high-energy dancing and pulsating sound of many of pop’s greatest hits.

Video footage and effects are blended with dazzling choreography by award-winning director Gary Lloyd and it’s regularly updated with additional songs and new visuals and choreography.

So how does it feel for Cleo to be performing in a stage production that’s a celebration of Michael Jackson’s music?

Even from the days of Cleopatra with sisters Zainam and Yonah it was apparent the girls were fans of the king of pop. They even had a Top Five hit single in the UK with their cover of the Jackson 5 track ‘I Want You Back’.

“With it being Michael Jackson I jumped at the chance to audition,” said Cleo.

“I remember someone mentioning a Michael Jackson show but didn’t realise it was an ongoing one.

“Michael Jackson is probably my biggest male influence really.

“He taught me how to vibe and really have the passion in my music and my life.

“He taught me and my sisters to perform.

“There’s no one really like him and I couldn’t think about myself or anyone else as being a female Michael Jackson.

“To do the MJ show is incredible.

“His death hurt me so much when we lost him. No one expected that to happen.

“When he died, he took a large part of me with him. It was like losing a brother.

“Now I feel I can give something back to him and his family by doing this show.”

‘Thriller Live’ is celebrating its sixth year in the West End where it has become the longest running production in the Lyric Theatre’s 125 year history.

But the show has been performed across the globe, with more than 2.5 million tickets sold.

The cast are currently on tour in Europe, visiting the likes of Germany and Switzerland, before going on to Italy later this year.

Now that she’s part of a larger cast and crew, how does it feel for Cleo to be back on tour?

“Being on the road, I was used to it from before,” she said, “but it’s the first time I have been away as a mum and it’s been up and down.

“My children are very excited about me being away.

“They are very resilient and know this is my job, but it’s hard.

“It’s not as easy being on tour, it was hard enough in the UK, but now we’re further away and you know it would take a whole day to get back home to them it’s tough.”

Thriller Live comes to the Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline from Thursday, June 5 to Saturday, June 7.