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Thriller - Live at Birmingham ICC

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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A Christmas Celebration of the Music of Michael Jackson
It's Bad, it's Dangerous, it's totally Off The Wall. It's Thriller Live and it's the big musical production in Birmingham this Christmas.

Thriller - Live Michael Jackson
I'm Bad: Thriller - Live in Birmingham over Christmas

The show features two hours of the music of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, from early hits like I Want You Back and ABC to Michael's solo blockbusters like Smooth Criminal and Heal the World.

Staged in Hall 1 of the ICC between December 17 and January 5, the all-singing, all-dancing spectacular stars The Voice contestant Cleo Higgins as the female lead singer.

Thriller - Live Cleo Higgins
The Thrill Of It All: Cleo Higgins in Thriller - Live (Pic: Irina Chira)

For 31-year-old Cleo it will be a chance to catch up with family and friends.

''I was born in Birmingham and lived in Handsworth and Ladywood,'' says Cleo who is now based in Manchester. ''I left Birmingham when I was six but I've still got a lot of family here, grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles. I see them every now and then but not as often as I'd like to so coming to the ICC for three weeks, that's the longest I've been in Birmingham since leaving. It'll be nice to see everyone and get them down to the show.''

Cleo is joined on stage by ten dancers and three male vocalists who portray Michael at different stages of his career.

''Lascel Wood is our youngest singer,'' Cleo says. ''He can sing an incredible range of notes; he's like Mariah Carey in male form. He is incredible. He sings a lot of the funky songs.

''Tyrone Lee is our soul man. He sings a lot of the disco era material.

''Jesse Smith is our rock 'n' roll darling. He hollers out those vocals. He does Beat It, Dirty Diana and She's Out Of My Life which you wouldn't expect to have that rock edge but that makes it even more incredible. You can hear a pin drop when he's singing that song.''

Cleo performs the more poppy material like Heal the World, Can You Feel It? and Blame It On The Boogie.

''Then we all come together for the likes of Bad and They Don't Care About Us.''

Thriller - Live Michael Jackson
Off The Wall: Thriller - Live

She explains why the show has a female performing songs made famous by a male singer.

''Michael had that femininity to him and you can't get that out of a lot of guys. You need that softer edge, but also that sexy edge, and they've definitely made sure we've put some sexy into the show. For The Way You Make Me Feel I'm dressed in a catsuit and I'm in silhouette, making shapes on the screen. I get really embarrassed!

''For Can You Feel It? I come out in a skimpy leotard costume. It started out as shorts but now it's like a swimsuit. And I'm wearing tall skyscraper heels.''

Thriller - Live Cleo Higgins
Dangerous: Cleo Higgins stars in Thriller - Live (pic: Irina Chira)

For many in the audience Cleo will be recognised for her appearance on TV talent show The Voice earlier this year. She was on Will.I.Am's team and reached the semi finals.

For older music fans she's known as one third of Cleopatra, the teenage band she formed in the 1990s with her sisters Zainam and Yonah.

She smiles: ''I've found there are people in the audience that know me from Cleopatra and as soon as I open my mouth to sing it they smile and they whisper to the person next to them 'do you remember?'''

Thriller - Live Michael Jackson

Thriller Live is in Hall 1 of Birmingham's International Convention Centre, December 17, 2013 January 5, 2014.
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Why? Two hours of solid gold Jackson music
When: December 17, 2013 - January 5, 2014
Phone: 0121 345 0603
Where: Hall 1, International Convention Centre, Birmingham
Cost: From 13.50 plus fees
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