Motown The Musical (UK Tour), Blackpool Winter Gardens | Review


Motown The Musical
29/08/19
Blackpool Winter Gardens
Reviewed by Mia Goddard
★★★★

Motown The Musical follows the story of Berry Gordy, the man who established Motown Records and helped many artists find fame. This true story features soul singers such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5.
Edward Baruwa as Berry Gordy is perfect casting and he leads this story effortlessly. The character’s journey is portrayed so believably, giving Gordy such depth. Even though the musical features many different diverse issues, including the struggles of being an African American in the 1930s to the 1970s and the assassination of JFK, Baruwa doesn’t over act these moments, instead supplies a more factual representation. As well as Edward delivering with his acting, his vocal technique is superb, the elegant control he displays whilst singing is so powerful.
Karis Anderson is simply divine as Diana Ross. The sass and power she brings to the stage is incredible. Her powerhouse of a voice helps back up this presence, giving a performance to remember.
Nathan Lewis definitely surprises the audience as Smokey Robinson. He supplies great vocals, smooth dance moves and a lovely portrayal of a much respected Motown legend.
Shak Gabbidon-Williams drives the emotion within the production as Marvin Gaye, his passionate portrayal into this unseen, delicate side of the iconic singer, moves the audience.
Carlo Brathwaite’s performance as young Berry/Michael Jackson/Stevie Wonder was outstanding! His ability and devotion to adapt for each of these characters really is incredible.
Now onto the ensemble for this musical. They must be one of the most talented ensembles in musical theatre within the UK. Their ability to adapt from artists of Motown records with stunning vocal technique, into supremely skilful dancers, is by all accounts astonishing.
The musical numbers are lifted by the performers giving such energy with Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams’ stellar choreography. The complex dances, fit the music and use the performance stage efficiently.
The set for this musical is a frame styled video wall, there are also several sliding video walls on stage, with a few light backdrops, designed by David Korins, Daniel Brodie and Andrew D Edwards. The sound is very minimalistic, however it works very effectively as a brilliant contemporary set, which rather than contradict the 70s style, it amplifies it.
This musical is simply a delightful surprise. I’m not the biggest Motown fan out there, but I was pleasantly surprised and had a great afternoon watching this show!