THE MAGIC OF MOTOWN: THEATRE ROYAL, BRIGHTON 16/11/08
Well it was non-stop, singalong Motown at Brighton’s Theatre Royal last night that’s for sure. 'My Guy', 'Touch Me In The Morning', 'Nowhere To Run', 'For Once In My Life', 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine', 'Bernadette', 'Brickhouse', 'My Girl' and on and on….
The stage backdrop proudly showed a painting of the Four Tops under the Magic Of Motown banner, and that stayed throughout the performance. (S**t! I’ve just realised, I wrote in the debut MT that the show was at the Dome. Sorry folks! Hope nobody had a wasted journey.) With Andre Lejaune in charge – probably too much so sometimes – the evening throbbed with music from The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, the Commodores, (with and without Lionel). The Temptations, oh, the songs were back to back.
Rebecca Freckleton, Amelia John (Kyra) and leading lady Natasha Burnett were the Supreme Queens, while Delroy Blake, Bevan Sutherland and Pierre Herrelle and Ryan King (both final contestants in the last X Factor series – I think) with Andre Lejaune were The Gentlemen. I have to say here Natasha and Delroy have fine, true and powerful voices which effortlessly tackled those often difficult Motown melodies and notes. Although the singers weren’t meant to imitate the actual groups and singers, I did smile when the guys whipped through an energetic Four Tops routine and an even faster display of steps and arm movements with The Temptations. Overly exaggerated of course, but that’s the youth of today. With the Jackson Five, and now wearing huge afros, the gents gave a blinding rendition of movement and music with 'I Want You Back' and 'ABC'.
The theatre was rocking, although the three drunks in front of me spent more time trying to prevent the floor hitting them in the face – alcohol and theatres don’t make good bedfellows. Nobody cared whether the music was Motown or not - certainly its magic extended across into the Capitol, Chess and Arista camps – and with the Motown Orchestra of seven (Mac, Alan, Ryan, Ian, Keith, Anna and Dave) who were on stage holding the beat throughout except for two songs, the Brighton audience wanted an evening of singing and dancing and that’s what they got.
Words SHARON DAVIS