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Stacey Tyler

Review: MOTOWN - THE MUSICAL at Shaftesbury Theatre

Motown: The Musical MOTOWN is a brand new musical that has flown into the West End after a hugely successful run on Broadway. For millions of people their generation is defined by the music of Motown and no matter what your age, this catalogue of hits has something for everybody to enjoy. From classics such as Reet Petite and Shop Around to a medley of Jackson 5 songs and the Stevie Wonder Classic: Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m yours, this is a Jukebox musical that really lives up to its name. Looking around the audience, it is clear to see that from the very first chord MOTOWN is the perfect night out.

MOTOWN the Musical follows the story of Berry Gordy, the man who’s vision created the movement we all know today as Motown. We meet Berry as a young child who, after watching the boxer Joe Louis make history is determined to follow in his footsteps to become the best ‘him’ he can be. Fast-forward 20 years and with the help of many of today's most talented singers MOTOWN is born. Nurturing the likes of Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5 it is no wonder the story of Berry Gordy is playing to packed out audiences in our glittering West End.

While the show throws hit after hit at you with slick dance routines and flawless voices, the book, unfortunately is thin. Berry Gordy’s story is undoubtedly a great one, but the way it is told here didn't have me enthralled and eager to find out what happens next.

This is an ensemble piece where everyone is working as hard as each other to showcase everything MOTOWN had to offer. The vibrant cast bring a raw energy of new talent allowed to explore their own capabilities as well as seasoned professionals who hit every mark time and time again.

The stand out performance comes from Cedric Neal our leading man. Every note he touches turns to gold, his unbelievable riffs and precise control make a beautiful sound. His voice soars effortlessly from song to song and he slots perfectly into a genre that he could easily have been a founding member of. A special mention has to go to child actor Bradley Morton who played all of the young stars. With a voice to rival people twice his age and a great personality shining through, he is bound to be one to look out for in the future.

This may not be a musical that breaks any records or leaves you emotionally charged from the story you have just heard. But it will leave you feeling euphoric and with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, and most importantly knowing you have had an excellent night out, and after all isn’t that what theatre is about?

Motown: The Musical