There Ain't No Town Like Motown!

The Magic Of Motown

Theatre Severn



The Reach Out Tour, seems an appropriate name for this incredibly talented cast and their fully charged Motown spectacular. They reached out to a packed theatre and the audience reached right back, consequently the music flowed to an extremely receptive and highly excited crowd.

However not an entirely blot- free copy book can bestowed on this show as there were a couple of niggles that need to be inspected and corrected . Firstly the volume was high, not deafening but if the amps. did go all the way to eleven; nine would have been about the right place.

One found that due to the seven singers and the band of four playing wonderfully behind, it was possible that there was maybe too much sound for the size of the venue. But that’s what sound checks are for. It was however an undeniably tricky challenge for the sound guys to spin the plates of the band, the singers, the fold-back and the front of house sound. Somewhere in the middle of all their ranges the happy ground of harmonious harmonies lie. The second half seemed much better in this respect and no one suffered too much the worse for it.

That said, when one is lighting the show from upstage to downstage one needs to be mindful of the light spilling into the eyes of the audience. Yet after almost every song everybody in the auditorium was treated to a free course of laser eye treatment. This was because  lights that would shame a million candles into surrender, burned an impression on one’s  retina that lasted into the next song. Just about 10 degrees tilt could have stopped that.

But hit after hit after hit kept coming and the audience knew and loved everyone.

Everyone knows now about how the Motown story and its roots in the poor area of Detroit, the Motorcity. It is an inspiring rags to riches story. But seeing this show  reminds one what a contribution Tamla Motown made on the music industry. It was a complete self- sustaining hit factory and provided some of the musical names that will last forever and will never be forgotten.

Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Lil Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, Diana Ross and the Supremes are all names that have something to do with everyone’s lives. Each one of them was undoubtebly  well represented in a show that must have taken every last ounce of effort and energy from the busy cast.

But when one talks of Motown the lyrics and music are only two thirds of the picture, the rest is made up of the tightly synchronized dance routines. Although there was a sliding scale of dance ability amongst the cast the lower end of that scale was excellent: as for the top end of the scale you can imagine your own superlatives.  They were very good!

This is a show that the vast majority of the audience would have liked to have gone on all night. It has style, it has flair,  it is beautifully sung  buy a tightly rehearsed cast and they are oh so cool in their moves.

This amazing revolution of music that exploded out of Detroit may never be matched. We may never even come near but if we did. If we were able to invent a whole new genre of music, provide an amazing stable of performers to take this new music to every corner of the world, to provide the writers, to keep the timeless, ageless hits rolling: If we were able to do all that and what we created lived forever, we might get somewhere near what Motown achieved. Somehow I don’t think we ever will!

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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