Motown The Musical at The Bristol Hippodrome - Bristol Theatre Review

Posted on: 2019-01-13

Our rating:

Overall, the night was fun, intense and moving but with an underlying comedy aspect...I promise it will have you itching to get out of your seat and dancing in the aisles.

If you’re looking for an energy fuelled show that will have you singing along and dancing in your seat, look no further than Motown The Musical at the Bristol Hippodrome. Seamlessly combining the music and culture of the era, the show will treat you to all the hits of the time including the Jackson Five’s ABC, The Marvelettes’ Please Mr Postman and Marvin Gaye’s Ain’t No Mountain High Enough to mention a few.

Review of Motown The Musical at The Bristol Hippodrome

The night begins upon entry to the Bristol Hippodrome where it is difficult not be impressed with its style and classic Victorian ambiance. The staff were very attentive and efficiently got us to our seats which provided unobstructed views of the stage. Once seated, the excitement begins to grow as the surrounding seats fill and the buzz of chatter from people all eager to get things started increases in volume.


The show begins, and we are transported back over half a century to be introduced to a young Berry Gordy, portrayed by the very talented Edward Baruwa, and over the space of a few hours we experience all the highs of his career and the lows he faced. Key moments including the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy as well as the love he shared with Diana Ross, played by Karis Anderson, all influenced and shaped the music he helped produce. The orchestra were sensational and didn’t miss a beat. Live music always has great affect, but Motown live music was powerful, with the funky beats underlying the fantastic singing from the cast was thoroughly enjoyable. The whole cast had so much energy and you could really tell they enjoyed being there and performing the songs and story to you. Set design and costumes also played a big part on the feel of the show, providing colour and impact to the visual aspect of the show. The only let down I can mention is the noticeable attachment of the performers’ wigs looking rather unstable and threatening to fall off at any minute, but this didn’t distract to much from the show itself. Combining The music, cast and costumes with the brilliant choreography which truly portrayed those classic dance moves from the era and was performed to perfection, allowed the audience to immerse themselves in the story and experience a taste of what Motown means to so many people.


Having mentioned the outstanding performance from the whole cast, it’s worth mentioning that the stand out performer for me was Karis Anderson. Her amazing voice really captured the essence of the great Diana Ross herself. She performed so eloquently and the story line really captured how Diana behaved at her shows – including her debut single performed the Las Vegas frontier hotel. It is also worth mentioning the young actor playing little Michael Jackson also proved himself a brilliant showman and I have no doubt he will go on to one day to the fame he deserves.


Overall, the night was fun, intense and moving but with an underlying comedy aspect to the show which provided subtle yet funny jokes to keep the audience’s spirits raised. I would definitely recommend this show to anyone who loves the music of the 60s and 70s and wants to know more about the man behind it all Berry Gordy. I promise it will have you itching to get out of your seat and dancing in the aisles.


Reviewed by Emma Moore for 365Bristol.

Motown The Musical | Bristol Hippodrome

Article by:

Brendan Murphy

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