REVIEW: Motown The Musical, Shaftesbury Theatre ✭✭✭✭✭

Last Updated on 29th January 2019

Motown The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre
The Cast Of Motown The Musical. Photo: Alastair Muir

Motown The Musical
Shaftesbury Theatre
5 Stars
Book Now For Motown

Many people will know the name Motown and associate it with songs that for many formed the soundtrack to their lives. Most will know the names of the phenomenal artists who performed on the Motown label including Diana Ross, Steve Wonder, The Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Gladys Knight And The Pips, The Commodores, and The Four Tops amongst others. Few however will know the story of Berry Gordy, the man with a dream who created Motown and took a small indie label and forged a musical legacy that must surely rate as one of the greatest contributions to modern music ever.

Motown The Musical takes nearly 50 of those classic songs and tells the story of Berry Gordy and Motown. As Motown The Musical, is very much Gordy telling his own story, the perspective can’t always be relied on as entirely accurate, but what comes across is a tenacious man who drove his artists and workforce to be nothing short of the best.

Cedric Neal plays Berry Gordy. If Neal’s performance embodies even just a fraction of Gordy’s real-life zeal, it is easy to see why the man conquered the music scene. Neal gives us a zesty, explosive performance as the man who created the Motown legend.

Motown The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre
Lucy St Louis plays Diana Ross in Motown The Musical. Photo: Alastair Muir

As Diana Ross, Lucy St Louis is a knock-out. St Louise exudes style, charisma and the god-given talent that embodied the work of Diana Ross. It’s a performance that will knock your socks off and points towards a starry future for this performer.

Charl Brown is Smokey Robinson. You’d swear it was the man himself! Robinson is portrayed as friend and confidant to Gordy and Brown gives the proceedings great humour as well as his fair share of the Motown hits on display here.

Sifiso Mazibuko plays Marvin Gaye. This is as assured, well-rounded performance that showed Gaye as the record-breaking, maverick always wanting to move forward to experiment. There are enough layers in his character and enough material just in Gaye’s catalogue for a show of his own.

The ensemble of Motown are amongst the hardest working on the West End at the moment. This talented group of performers play multiple parts in the many groups represented by the Motown label. They are slick and just downright sensational as they bring hit after hit to the Shaftesbury stage.

Director Charles Randolph-Wright and choreographers Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams, keep the Motown stage ablaze with a flow of exceptional talent. It’s a joy to see so much colour on a West End stage thanks to the Scenic Design of David Korins and the Lighting Design of Natasha Katz.

Motown The Muiscal at the Shaftesbury Theatre
The Jackson 5 in Motown The Musical. Photo: Alastair Muir

Sound Designer Peter Hylenski and his sound operator team deserve high praise for crystal clear sound throughout.

Motown breaks free of the normally constraints of a jukebox musical. It is a joyous, exuberant celebration of life, of challenge and ultimately of success.

I can’t recall a time in recent memory when an audience sand and danced their way out of the theatre but they did for Motown.

There ain’t no mountain high enough to stop you from buying a ticket to this 5 star smash hit!

Motown The Musical Is Now Playing At The Shaftesbury Theatre. Book Now

Motown The Musical is currently touring the UK. Click here for dates.

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