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Review: 5 reasons why I loved Motown the Musical (Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff)

Review: Motown the Musical at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff {Cardiff Theatre and Shows}


wales millennium centre motown the musical

(Disclosure - WMC invited me to the press night & to watch this musical, in return for my review).

I always forget how much I adore musicals when it's been a while since I've seen one. There's something so magical about the anticipation in those few minutes at the start; being seated and flicking through the programme, surrounded by the murmurs of the audience which start to hush as the curtain opens and the music starts to play. It always makes me feel emotional, in the positive sense! As someone with an embarrassingly short attention span, it's even better and a sign of a great show when the production manages to keep me engaged until the end, which Motown the Musical managed to do. I went into it not having a clue what to expect but came out with a smile on my face. Here's why:

1. It boosted my mood

At the time of writing this I feel a little glum for various reasons, and I can't think of anything more appealing than going to go and watch Motown again. If I didn't have my weekly date with an online fitness video scheduled in for after work (already putting that off by writing this blog), I would be booking a last minute ticket and dragging my butt back to the WMC. It's a lot of fun with a friend, but I'm a firm believer that you don't even need company to enjoy a show - don't be scared about turning up alone. Take yourself for a date and escape into a world of glitz and glamour, featuring some of the catchiest songs ever recorded.

review of motown the musical 2019

2. I never even realised I was a Motown fan...!

The music is of course the glue that holds the whole thing together. As more of a jukebox musical, Motown features a huge number of ridiculously good tunes which will get you having a little boogie in your seat. Bonus points for a bit of audience participation as well - if you're brave enough get a seat at the front, you can volunteer to go on stage and have a singalong with Diana Ross (my personal reaction was a jolt of fear then a "thank god we didn't sit at the front").

Over 50 songs feature, including medleys and snippets, which allows so much of the incredible, ground-breaking music to shine through. There will be some songs that you know, even if you don’t expect to. Highlights included “I Heard It Through the Grapevine," “Dancing in the Street” “Do You Love Me” "Stop in the Name of Love," "My Girl" and "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough".

3. Stunning visuals and excellent performances

Performances are outstanding and costumes are particularly dazzling. Edward Baruwa is convincing and well-cast as Motown founder Berry Gordy, whilst Karis Anderson plays Diana Ross supremely well (pun intended) with so much confidence, stage presence and believable chemistry with Baruwa. I found the cast members in the smaller roles (especially little Michael Jackson!) all really embodied the energy of the performers they paid tribute to. The effective use of vibrant projection seamlessly changing throughout the show worked perfectly, couple that with the strong choreography and it all together adds up to a very slick production.

review of motown the musical 2019

4. I learned a little bit

Whilst there is heart and romance to the story, I will say that it isn't the type where you feel the greatest deal of emotional investment in the characters. The pacing and plot might come across to some as a little rushed, since there's a lot to get in to a short amount of time. However, there is a good story here and I personally enjoyed it. The musical is based on the autobiography of Berry Gordy, the rags-to-riches tale of a man who discovered many of the Motown greats, launching their careers through the Motown label. The darker chapters covering the social politics of the time and the setbacks Gordy faced are covered too and having never read into the Motown story before, I really enjoyed learning about it.

5. I enjoyed the fantastic venue ;D

I was so thrilled to be invited that I feel I couldn't end the blog without expressing some of love for the good old WMC. Everything is always so well organised there, very relaxed atmosphere, as well as a nice coffee shop and restaurant. The setting of the bay is always lovely too, with so many good restaurants nearby. I make it a rule to see at least one or two musicals a year at the WMC and I have already booked my tickets for Les Mis this December :)

If you missed Motown, or won't be able to make it on one of the last few showings this week, click here to see what else is on. You can also call the box office to enquire on 029 2063 6464.

I've compiled a list of top musical picks and dates below:

whats on at the wales millennium centre 2019


As explained above, I was invited to review the musical at the press launch event and spread the word across my social channels. Had full creative control of the copy but was provided the images to include. Would have LOVED to have been able to take my own photos...but cameras aren't allowed in there! The press evening was sponsored by Radio Platfform (Welsh youth-led radio station and training programme, check them out if you are 14-25 and interested in getting into radio production or presentation). Thanks for a fabulous evening :)

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Me and @lisagraceactor


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