After a successful run in the West End, Motown the Musical is travelling across the country to entertain audiences and has landed at Manchester’s Opera House for a four-week run.
Showing the highs and lows of the Motown music label, created by the legendary Berry Gordy, Motown the Musical celebrates the incredible music from stars including Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson plus many more.
The story shows us a young Gordy, where he dreams of making a difference in the world, through to the beginnings of Motown, after being loaned $800 to help uncover the talent of Detroit. Finally, we see the decline of the label, when rival companies snap them up with a lot of money to offer.
Hits such as “Stop! In the Name of Love”, “Dancing in the Street” and “My Girl” are just a handful that are performed in Motown the Musical. This is not a tribute show though, but a recreation of the story. Nevertheless, the actors and costumes could fool one into believing they are seeing the stars up on that stage, as the talent in the cast is outstanding.
Edward Baruwa is an entertaining watch as Gordy and has the audience in the palm of his hand from his first interaction with them. Baruwa’s voice is powerful, which is why it was no surprise he got a standing ovation from the audience.
Paris Anderson’s Diana Ross was a vision to watch, seeing a young, wide-eyed girl turn into a woman and star. Her performance of “Reach Out and Touch” got the audience swaying along, and I honestly felt like I was watching Ross live on stage in Las Vegas.
Manchester-born Yami Mirazi stole the audience’s hearts as a young Michael Jackson. He knew how to please an audience and kept up with the rest of the ensemble with the challenging choreography.
Set in a time when politics and segregation were still prevalent, there’s a moment when as an audience member you are made to feel on edge about being at a concert, and I have never held my breath through a song for so long. The music that Motown records created wasn’t just to dance to; it was to create a movement and a want to change the world. The end of Act 1 was a shocking and emotional moment, with Shak Gabbidon-Williams giving an incredible performance as Marvin Gaye.
There really is something for everyone in Motown. The fantastic costumes, the incredibly talented cast and the high energy production just
Motown the Musical is on at Manchester Opera House until Saturday 23rd of March, tickets can be found on their website.