Motown The Musical at Opera House, Manchester.
The giant M that adorns the stage curtain might just as well stand for Manchester, given the ecstatic reception this show receives.
The city already enjoys a special place at the heart of soul music history as it’s 54 years since the Tamla Motown record label launched in Europe with a star-studded concert at Manchester Odeon.
Many more big names appear in this music-soaked story of how the label’s founder, songwriter and impresario Berry Gordy, created Motown, in a frank portrayal of the ups and downs he endured.
With more than 60 classic songs to accommodate, many are shoe-horned around the story in the first act. The pace eases after the interval, with showcases that open out for the music of the Jackson 5, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder.
Meantime there’s a lot of story to impart, not least the part that music played in raising black consciousness through the latter half of the last century. A seamless digital stage design colours in the show’s timeline, aided by what must be truckloads of wigs and costumes for a huge cast.
A show sensational enough to match its music.
Motown the Musical is in Manchester until March 23, and comes to Blackpool in the summer.
- Motown The Musical, Opera House, Blackpool, August 27 until August 31.