Motown's In Town

Nett UK Presents

Motown. How sweet it is.

Theatre Severn

27th September 2019

Many good things came out of Nineteen Fifty Nine. A good year for Theatre Reviewers I have heard. However the salient point being that it is the year that Berry Gordy created the Motown label. In doing he gave songs and Artistes who will stay indelibly locked into our minds for ever more. Tonight’s audience proved that. For two full hours I think they played one unfamiliar song. The audience lapped it up.

With a solid back line of some incredibly talented musicians we saw Saxophone, Guitars, Lead and Bass, Drums and holding all together was some very good and reliable Keys. An excellent band who slipped not one note all evening. It’s a fast moving show and they needed to keep on giving up those notes whilst the five vocalists took us through the back catalogue of this incredible label.

One got the impression initially that a couple of the singers were tired and their voices showed it. One wondered if this was the less fresh end of a long tour. If it was for the sake of a few quid it might be prudent to rest the singers a little longer than they are. It is as already declared, a high energy and fast moving show. With a content of at least 30 songs, each with their own very special synchronised choreography. These lads have had a very lot of stuff to learn. One is aware of the work they have put in and although some notes are best left unmentioned overall the guys did well.

The second half seemed stronger than the first but overall the content was fairly consistent. What could be said is, as the voices warmed up they became more flexible. Maybe they needed a bigger pre-show warm up  and it really showed at times.

That said, with their voices warmed the lads worked through the score collecting fans on the way. One is of a mind to believe that this is certainly not aimed at a gender neutral audience. From where one was sitting it appeared all the ladies in the auditorium were certainly getting something the guys weren’t. Just like a Jack-in –a-box,  they were up on their feet to almost every song. One was a little deafened by the screams and whoops from one of the ladies that just happened to be sat next to me.

Looking around the audience and watching them dancing and cheering with all their might one feels that a lot of the audience were having a ball. A lot of husbands looked a little cheesed off, make what you will of that; it is merely an observation.

Overall this is a show that, because of the very ropey vocals at the start, won’t set the world on fire. It has no agenda other than to respect the music and invite the audience enjoy their delivery and it fulfils that. But it isn’t a great show. It’s a reasonable one.

Motown is known for their impeccable dances. All performers move together in exactly the same manner. One was aware that over the course of learning this show they have learned millions of dance steps and not only are they singing they are counting and watching the symmetry of the line. This didn’t always happen and just a couple of time a mic was placed just a little behind the other four. Net result of that is obviously there are drops in the symmetry. It happened a couple of times and they could be a little more mindful of that.

Overall and in summary one would say this show is alright and totally inoffensive, one could easily take one’s Grandma (if you weren’t born in 1959 that is.) Between these guys there is a wealth of talent. They need to hold back on the annoying habit of singing each note in its own descant. The vocal acrobatics actually spoil a good song and it really isn’t evidence of a great singer. That style is becoming more and more prevalent and it’s annoying.  A truly great singer can look into your soul, into your very being and move you. There was none of that but this show wasn’t about doing that it was about giving people a good time and a bit of a laugh. If that was their remit they fulfilled it.

This is A Three Star Review.

Owen J. Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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