18 November 2015
Reviewed by Katy Nettleton
What they say…
Celebrating 50 years of UK No.1 hits, the all-new, all-star 2014 spectacular boasts more No.1s than ever before. Live on stage, it’s the music of the Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops, Jackson 5, Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie and more.
Motown singles first topped the UK charts in 1964. Today the legend of the label lives on as five-star performances revive over 36 classics featuring the dance moves, costumes and musicianship made famous by Motown.
What I say…
Where to start… as soon as the singers came on and started the first set I was mesmerized and taken away from Birmingham and my recent travel issues! The blending of pop, soul and R&B was amazing as was the strength of each singer and their voice. The way in which the band interacted with the audience was brilliant and for me, I enjoyed that they didn’t “talk” to the audience lots – other than a few introductions to the songs (which everyone was already singing along to!) and the band it was 2 hours of pure musical heaven. I know when it comes to music it is a personal choice, and for me this hit the spot.
The staging was classy and understated with just a back drop (a massive difference from the last time I visited Birmingham Alexandra for Priscilla the Desert of the night!) but this was all that was needed. The singers had glamorous bright outfits on – which you would expect and their dancing was perfectly in time with one another, and obviously well-rehearsed. All voices, were as equally as good. For me, one of the singers was a little distracting when being a backing singer; this is in by no ways a critique but for me all her actions and moves were a little bit “overacted” and in turn disingenuous with a heartfelt song being sung. However, vocally it was amazing and this did not have an impact on my need to get up and dance! The costume changes were seamless and blended into the show perfectly (I think my husband wishes I could change that quickly for a night out!) and the male and female singers were all amazing – I could not fault any vocal performance.
The mix of songs was brilliant, and even if you are not into “Motown music” I am sure you will be able to sing along to most of the songs. One of the audience members I was sat next to said “it’s hard not to keep a smile on your face when the music is just so happy”; for me I think this statement sums up the evening. People were dancing in the isles, on their chairs, and I defy anyone who says their foot wasn’t tapping along to the music (in-time or otherwise!). I don’t want to go into details about which songs they sing (my favourite was Stop In the Name of Love!), but I will say is you won’t be disappointed and the true Detroit tones comes through on each song.
This was a show to remember, and one that I will go and see again. When reading reviews on the show a reviewer said the show ended on a good note; Signed, Sealed and Delivered! This sums up the show and the night.
For other shows at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham visit www.atgtickets.com/birmingham.
New Alexandra Theatre, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 4DS