- 07 Feb 19
Get ready for a night of smiles, singalongs and throwing shapes.
Motown the Musical follows the success story of Berry Gordy’s label Motown Records, an endeavour Gordy embarked on when he was 29 years old. From the outset the audience is encouraged to sing, dance and above all believe - whether you’re a young boy with a dream or an ambitious artist.
Director Charles Randolph-Wright has done a terrific job reincarnating the late and greats of Motown Records. Everyone aged eight to eighty know The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and many more of the big Motown names.
Potentially the biggest shoes any performer could ever fill, yet the cast did the roles justice with the help of great costume (Emilio Sosa) and set design (David Korins).
What sets this show apart from others is the encouraged audience interaction. The Irish love a good aul sing-song. We really do. Sitting in the stalls all you want to do is hop up and get down. The show is produced in such a way that encourages the audience to be a part of the show.
If you want to belt out The Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’, you are more than welcome to join in. It might be best to warm up the pipes on the Luas over.
Watching the show there were moments that oddly resembled an evening on the Late Late Show. In the middle of 'Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)' Karis Anderson, who took on the role of Diana Ross, invited audience members up on stage to sing along. Just as the real Ross does in each performance.
Con from Wicklow and Brian from Belfast were the victims on opening night. Then the audience was asked to join hands with one another, singing along and swaying.
That being said, Edward Baruwa (Berry Gordy) wasn’t expecting quite the panto reaction. One scene sees Gordy and Smokey Robinson (Nathan Lewis) trying to name the label and the audience was more than happy to shout out ‘Motown!’. Baruwa was taken aback by the bold showgoers. He started laughing on stage, momentarily losing track of the performance.
Granted it’s a musical so elements are obviously hammed up. However, the production deals with the difficulties of the time in a more serious manner, particularly the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King.
All-in-all, it’s an enjoyable experience that will leave you dancing in the street on the way home.
Motown the Musical will run from 5 to 23 February 2019. Tickets are available from the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.
Watch the trailer for the show below.
Read Pat Carty's preview here.