★★★ | Dancing In The Streets

Mowtown magic lives on in this musical revue, pulling together the classic artists, the timeless songs and the sound which defined a generation with an unmistakable musical legacy.  Featuring songs from The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder; seven singers and a live band bring to life the golden days of Tamla records.

Photo Courtesy of The Flying Music Company Ltd.

Musical revues can often come across as slightly polished cruise ship cabaret and their success rests primarily on their subject matter rather than the way in which they are put together. Production wise, one would be hard pressed to find very much to sing about with this show, with nothing more than a static set made up of a handful of podiums for the backing band, three posters of legendary artists, an average lighting set up and a collection of microphone stands. The costumes are functional but nothing spectacular and overall, the whole show remained on a plateau in terms of pace and presentation. There is no narrative, just a relentless set list to carry the show over its two hour running time.

But it is that set list which really scores the points for this production, with songs including “Superstitious”, “Stop In The Name Of Love”, “Baby Love”, “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”, “My Girl”, “Dancing in the Streets”, “The Tracks Of My Tears”, “Get Ready”, “River Deep Mountain High” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, the show certainly crams in the classics.  Performed by a five piece band, three female singers and four male singers, the vocals were perfectly functional, with all of the singers taking turns to step into the limelight, and each of them finding their niche with a particular song or two. But where the show succeeds is in getting the audience involved. From the outset, audience members were encouraged to dance, clap, sing and shout throughout the proceedings, and the audience certainly took advantage, barely sitting down for the majority of the show and quite literally packing out the aisles in the theatre as they danced.

When you compare this show to others similar revues, such as Thriller Live which has the hits coupled with some slickly choreographed routines, Dancing in the Streets is lacking in spectacle and, quite honestly, is visually rather bland. But what it lacks in spectacle, it makes up for in energy and atmosphere.

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So put on your dancing shoes; and provided you go and see this show for the music and the party atmosphere, and not for the production values, then you are highly likely to have an enjoyable night.

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Dancing In The Streets is currently on tour throughout the UK until 19th June 2016. For details, see http://www.flyingmusic.com/our-shows/dancing-in-the-streets/ .The production was viewed at Sheffield Theatres (www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk) who have announced their new season, including Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Annie Get Your Gun, The Shawshank Redemption and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

About the author: Paul Szabo
In between visits to the theatre, watching films, photography, walking, scuba diving and singing (badly); Paul writes for TheGayUK.