Motown the Musical Review

Bristol Hippodrome – until 2 February 2019

Reviewed by Lucy Hitchcock


The show depicts the life of Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown and the show takes place on the day of the 25th Anniversary of Motown’s birth with flashbacks to Gordy’s humble beginnings. Gordy, played by Edward Baruwa had poise onstage and carried the role well. The stand out performance, for me, was ‘Do you Love me?’. This was a real feel good performance that had the audience clapping, singing and dancing along as well as providing some outstanding vocals. Karis Anderson as Diana Ross exuded grace and elegance and had good vocals, to give a performance Diana Ross would be proud of. 

The set was quite limited, but filled the stage and was used multiple times throughout the show. The technical support given to the show aided the audience’s imagination, with bright lights, projections and 1960’s patterns displayed on a screen, this was no mean feat to produce. The costume created by Emilio Sosa was true to the time and flattering for all members of cast, taking you back to the early 1960’s. Choreographers Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams provided dynamic dance routines that were carried out well by cast members. 

However, some vocals and performances left much to be desired. As with any show, there are perfect performances and some that fall a little below the mark and it was a shame that Motown was the latter, with a few flat notes and some stiff acting. Nevertheless, if you like Motown Music and are interested in the history of its creation, this is the show for you. The songs are extremely well known and you may be ‘Dancing in the Streets’ on your way home.