MJ the Musical review - March 2024

an absolute thriller!

As a lifelong fan of Michael Jackson's music and choreography, experiencing MJ The Musical at the Prince Edward Theatre was an exhilarating journey through his preparations for the 1992 Dangerous World Tour. From start to finish, the production transported the audience of fans into the captivating world of the King of Pop, celebrating his iconic legacy in a mesmerising spectacle of music, dance, and stagecraft. We see MJ go through his artistic process and while the crew from MTV want to get to the hard-hitting truths informing his work, we are offered glimpses of his family life, starting with his time in the Jackson Five and the beginnings of being the standout performer.

Production image of Myles Frost in MJ the Musical

The deft choreography seamlessly transitions through the decades thanks to Christopher Wheeldon’s exceptional prowess. The standout moments of "Thriller", "Smooth Criminal" and "Billie Jean" are firm favourites that live up to the hype of the original success of the music videos. Myles Frost is every bit the Tony Award winner as he takes the stage for most of the runtime. The performance is so grounded in the quiet demeanour of Jackson’s off-stage personality. However, once the music kicks in, he has the range to wow audiences in an equally spellbinding way.

If there is one detracting factor here, it is that the production has mostly shied away from any controversial aspects of Jackson's life by focusing on his music, his artistry and his activism. This decision puts up somewhat of a wall when trying to connect with the Man in the Mirror. While the production states the case that he was ahead of his time on several political issues, these wins are also glossed over too briefly - audiences are here to have fun yes, but also to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of an enigmatic figure.

Production image of Myles Frost and the company of MJ the Musical

The production's costume design too deserves special mention, as it brilliantly captures the iconic fashion of Michael Jackson throughout his career. From the sequined jackets of the Jackson 5 era to the signature red leather jacket of the "Bad" era, every costume was meticulously crafted to perfection - with a bit of Broadway razzle-dazzle adding an extra layer to each piece. Moreover, the use of multimedia elements, including video projections, further enhanced the immersive experience of MJ The Musical.

All of these elements combine to provide context and historical significance to Jackson's journey (at one point Bob Fosse literally arrives onstage to give MJ some tips) which allows audiences to connect with his influences on a deeper level. And connect we did - the energy in the Prince Edward Theatre was palpable throughout the performance, with audience members of all ages singing along and dancing in their seats. This is not just a show; it's a celebration of Michael Jackson's enduring legacy and the profound impact he had on the world of music and entertainment.

Production image of Myles Frost and the company of MJ the Musical.

MJ The Musical at the Prince Edward Theatre is a must-see for fans of Michael Jackson and anyone who appreciates the power of music to transcend boundaries. While we see MJ's many influences in the piece, it's clear upon leaving the theatre just how many artists have in turn been inspired by Michael Jackson, himself. All in all, with its electrifying performances, stunning visuals, and impressive stagecraft, this production is a fitting tribute to the King of Pop and a testament to his lasting influence on generations of fans worldwide.

Don't miss the opportunity to experience the magic of MJ The Musical – it's an exhilarating journey through the life and music of a late legend.

Four Stars

Reviewed by Sarah Cahill
20 March 2024, Prince Edward Theatre
Booking until 29 March 2025