Motown the Musical Review - Mayflower Southampton

I love a good musical that tells the history of a person, group or even an era. Something that can transport you and make you feel like you are experiencing that part of history yourself. Motown the Musical is one of those shows that hits the spot. Full of rich musical history that charts from Diana Ross to the Jackson 5, this show pumps out hit after hit. It's taken to the Mayflower, Southampton stage and I popped along to immerse myself in some Motown music.

Based around the life and legacy of Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown records, you are taken on a whistle stop tour of the heritage of the record label. From renting a home to record in, to moving to LA and his love affair with Diana Ross. Everything is covered and supported with a show stopping and tow tapping soundtrack that has everyone dancing in their seats. I'm going to be upfront and honest and say that I was a tad disappointed and underwhelmed in the storyline at times. I felt that there were lots of unanswered questions and it felt a bit glossed over at times, but knowing that Gordy himself has penned the script shows that he obviously only wanted to include the bits he wanted to share, which I can completely respect!

Despite the slightly lacklustre storyline, it was a show that had hit after hit after hit including Ain't No Mountain High Enough, My Girl and Dancing In The Street to name a few. With over 50 songs across the decades, there was something that everyone from young to old knew and enjoyed. The singing and dancing was on another level, with performances that made you do a double take as to whether the real stars including Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye were actually in the room. I was honestly blown away by the calibre of performances on the stage. 

The casting was perfect. Edward Baruwa stormed the stage at Berry Gordy, wowing the crowds with emotional solos and swooping dialogue. Paired with his leading lady Diana Ross (played by Karis Anderson) who had all the charisma, talent and star factor you need to portray one of the biggest female stars in the history of music. Reece Richards took to the stage as Marvin Gaye, an understudy that was honestly one of the best performers on the stage. Nathan Lewis made his theatrical debut as Smokey Robinson, and he looked right at home on the stage, you would have never known that this was his first professional theatre show!

The ensemble really added as the glue to this show, switching between every type of performer from a band member, to a protester to pivotal characters in the story of Motown. How they managed to switch costumes, wigs and get on stage looking flawless is beyond me. I honestly have to credit the backstage team immensely as the costumes changed as much as songs did and with flawless transitions. 

Motown the Musical is a show that is perfect for anyone that loves the rich history of Motown, for anyone that wants the opportunity to relish in the songs of years gone past. With a brilliant opportunity to get up and dance at the end, it's a feel good musical that will appeal to all ages and is a brilliant night out. 

Motown the Musical is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton until the 12th October before continuing on a UK tour. 

Note: My tickets were gifted, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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