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Friday, 4 October 2019

Motown The Musical | Mayflower Theatre

Growing up, my dad was always playing music, and it's safe to say that he has a very varied music taste. Motown was one of the genres that he liked to play - think Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. So when I saw that the music telling the story of the record label was coming to the Mayflower Theatre Southampton, I knew there was no way I could turn down the opportunity to go and watch the show*.

The show tells the story of Berry Gordy as he founds his own record label, in a bid to be a successful black American in the 1950s. With just $800 borrowed from his family, Gordy founded the legendary Motown Records, which launched the careers of stars such as Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. We follow Gordy as he starts his label, through its successes, and unfortunate downfalls. It was really interesting to fully understand the way the label developed. Add a catchy soundtrack packed full of all the Motown hits you know and love, and you've got a hit of a show.
Photo courtesy of Mayflower Theatre
I think this could be one of my favourite shows of the year, it was that good. The story was engaging and kept me hooked throughout, and the singing was phenomenal. The original songs were performed by such music icons that the cast had big shoes to fill. And they filled them! The voices were incredible. Edward Baruwa, as Berry Gordy, perfectly portrayed that trying to fulfil his dream but getting caught up in the fame and fortune of running a successful business. You could see where he was making decisions that weren't quite right, but you were rooting for him throughout. Karis Anderson was amazing as Diana Ross, incredible vocals, and embodying the image of Diana Ross that I had in my mind - such a great job. But the star for me was Reece Richards as Marvin Gaye. His vocals gave me actual goosebumps - I could've listened to him sing for two hours and been happy. He was phenomenal. The entire cast were really talented - I was blown away.
Photo courtesy of Mayflower Theatre
Photo courtesy of Mayflower Theatre
Photo courtesy of Mayflower Theatre
I really, really enjoyed this show. It was great to see the journey Motown Records went on, and the odds that Gordy fought against to fulfil his dream and launch his own label. I learned so much about the record label, the personal relationships and professional struggles, as it grew in popularity and influence. Throw in the music that made history, uniting people and giving a voice to a marginalised section of society at a time when they were fighting for equality. What an absolute legacy!
Photo courtesy of Mayflower Theatre
Photo courtesy of Mayflower Theatre
If you couldn't tell, I loved this! I am so glad that I got to watch the show - it really has made its way onto my favourites of the year. Motown the Musical is at the Mayflower Theatre until 12th October. You can buy tickets online here, or by calling on the Box Office on 02380 711811. I'd thoroughly recommend grabbing some tickets!

* My tickets for this show were complimentary in return for my review, but all views are honest and my own.

Love Lexie

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