28 May 2016
Reviewed by Deborah Banasko
Motown music is a favourite of mine, so I was really hoping that this show would live up to my expectations. Not only did it not disappoint, but I was blown away by the entire production.
The theatre itself is located in the centre of Halifax, about 5 minutes walk away from an open carpark, although there is plenty of on-street parking which is free after 6pm. The theatre looks small from the outside, but the auditorium is deceptively large for a smaller town theatre. It really does seem to draw in some amazing acts. As you walk through the main doors there is a good sized bar to the left, and a refreshments kiosk to the right. I always find that the staff are so chatty, and seem genuinely happy to be there.
There are plenty of toilets so queuing is at the most a minute or two. They are clean, as is the whole entrance area and auditorium.
In the main auditorium the seating is arranged over three levels, and it really is a beautiful theatre with a good sized stage. The seats are comfortable, although the leg-room could be a little more generous. It is an old theatre so this is expected.
Prior to the show starting we were able to take in the staging; there was a backdrop of three large prints of favourite Motown artists with dramatic red mood lighting. In fact lighting was used well throughout the show to reflect the mood of each song. A live band were set up at the back of the stage, which had so much more impact than a backing track.
The show began with “I Can’t Help Myself” by the Four Tops, and the four male and three female performers were introduced. From the start the singing was amazing, with perfectly arranged harmonies and well-choreographed dance routines.
There was an issue with a microphone stand early on in the show, but the artists just worked through it and it had no effect on their performances in any way.
The male voices were so rich and smooth, and they just looked so cool and “in character” throughout. The notes that the lead singer of “Tracks of my Tears” managed to achieve were just mind blowing.
“Tears of a Clown” had the whole audience on their feet, encouraged by the artists. A particular favourite of mine was a medley of songs by the Supremes, where the ladies donned beautiful white dresses with fur shrugs and new wigs. Their voices were stunning and they just drew you into the performance with their energy.
The entire audience danced for the majority of the second half. I have to credit another of the ladies costume changes again where they channelled Martha and the Vandellas; an amazing 1970’s jumpsuit. They looked and sounded fantastic.
Other favourites were “Loco in Acapulco” and “Dancing on the Ceiling”, and the Temptations numbers which were just stunning. I have to mention the amazing audience participation number “War” which became a sing off between two halves of the audience. Hilariously handled, and what amazing stage persona’s the artists had.
There was a perfect mix of slower and more up tempo numbers. When the pace dropped, it wasn’t for long as it was swiftly followed by an upbeat song. There was a great mix of male or female group songs, duets, solo and entire group numbers.
There really are too many hi-lights to list. I found that as one song blew me away and I thought it could not be topped, the next one would leave me even more impressed. All of the artists were equally talented, not one lacked in enthusiasm or ability, and there was not one average song in the whole set. The dance routines were clearly rehearsed to perfection but totally natural, and every single note was hit. The costume (and wig changes for the ladies) just created a nostalgia about each performance as they were designed to represent the original artist in some way. I left the theatre feeling happy, it was such a feel good show.
Absolutely 5/5 stars for every aspect of the show. A fabulous night out at one of my favourite theatres.
Dancing in the Streets is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.flyingmusic.com/our-shows/dancing-in-the-streets.
For other shows at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/victoria.
Victoria Theatre, Fountain Street, Halifax HX1 1BP | 01422 351158