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The Magic of Motown

40 back-to-back classic Motown hits
Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, Sat 29 June 2019

If you love Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie or Stevie Wonder, then The Magic of Motown will have you tapping your feet, and maybe even dancing in the aisles. The Magic of Motown has been performed all over the world, including at The Royal Variety Show in 2016, and its latest tour has now brought it to Aylesbury. With dance numbers, spectacular costumes, and all your favourite Motown hits, this promises to be a fun and unforgettable night out.

The Magic of Motown is a family-friendly show, although the length of the performance (2 hours and 30 minutes) may make it unsuitable for younger audience members.

November 23, 2018
A glittering evening's entertainment

I’m always amazed by the buzz of excitement in the foyer of the New Theatre, it’s contagious. Even on a wintry weekday.So, as we took our seats amongst the throng of jolly theatre-goers, thoughts of an early night with a hot chocolate melted away and I was caught up in the enthusiasm surrounding me.

The Magic of Motown is pretty self-explanatory: a celebration of “the sound of a generation” showcasing the music of legends such as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and of course, The Jackson 5.As the band of four assembled towards the back of the stage, the hum of the crowd grew louder with the anticipation. The three ladies of the cast strutted on-stage with an air of confidence and we were off.The pace of the show was unbelievable – 2 hours flew by in a flash of sequins and colour.However, the first couple of numbers had me concerned – some of the voices were a little pitchy, and there seemed to be issues with the balance of sound between the musicians and the singers. My concerns must have been in the minority though, at the end of the opening song the applause was resounding. And as the show progressed and the performers warmed up, my worries were gone.

All seven members of the cast (four men as well as the aforementioned ladies) are clearly vocally talented, with Bevin Sutherland seemingly leading the way with a fabulous Marvin Gaye that extracted whoops and cheers from the audience. People were out of their seats very early on in the performance and the atmosphere was electric – I felt like I was on a stag or hen do at one point.And this wasn’t a young audience – there was a lovely mix of ages including a lot of people who I would imagine enjoyed the Motown scene the first time around.

During the interval I bought a programme so that I could get more of an insight into the cast and the set list, but unfortunately, as glossy and beautiful as it is, the programme didn’t really provide a huge amount of information.It seems that the cast has changed since it was printed, and when Sutherland ran through everyone's names towards the end of the show, I didn’t recognise anyone from the booklet. And a quick Google hasn’t really helped either, so I’m afraid I am unable to name check anyone in particular.

The gentleman who gave us a couple of Stevie Wonder tracks was superb in his vocal ability, however, I’m not sure whether him being led on stage by one of the female performers was in good taste.We didn’t need that level of mimicry to appreciate the performance.

Which is partly why I have mixed feeling about the whole show.It’s clear that the entire ensemble are very talented – band and singers alike. Some of the costumes seemed a little tired, and certainly one of the male performers looked as though he was wearing his Dad’s suit at one point.The beautiful sequinned dresses were stunning, though, and overall, my husband and I both had a good time. After the initial concerns I had were blitzed by the audience’s reaction, I started to relax into the show and just enjoyed the brilliant music.

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