Motown magic returns to Barking’s Broadway Theatre

PUBLISHED: 13:45 18 June 2012

Motown's Greatest Hits is coming to Barking

Motown's Greatest Hits is coming to Barking

Ross Harvey

»Fifty years of Motown hits, a live band and some mean dance moves will hit the Broadway Theatre stage this week.

Motown’s Greatest Hits - How Sweet It Is, on Saturday, features covers of Motown classics by legendary artists including Lionel Richie, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson.

Performed by five male artists whose vocal talents are matched by their slick dance moves, the show promises to have the audience bopping in the aisles.

The production, which visits Barking for the fourth time, has been touring for 10 years and according to musical director Peter Brent, is as popular as ever.

“It’s going very well and we almost always sell out which is fantastic,” he said.

“The theatre was packed out the last time we were in Barking – the atmosphere was great. I hope it’s the same this time.”

Motown was founded by producer Berry Gordy in Detroit, America in 1959.

“It was music by black artists, influenced by jazz, rhythm and blues, but was aimed at a white audience,” explained Peter.

“And white people absolutely loved it. By the 60s Motown had spread to the UK and gained a following.”

Fifty years on and it continues to draw in crowds.

Asked what makes Motown so enduring, Peter told the Post: “They’re just great tunes and you can’t help but dance to them. It’s also good sing-a-long music.”

There are no female artists in Motown’s Greatest Hits, which, Peter admits, has led some to suggest the show is not a true representation.

“A few people have asked why there are no female singers,” he said. “Firstly 80 per cent of Motown has been made up of male artists. The only famous female ones are Diana Ross and the Supremes and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

“We did try using women singers but the show just didn’t work as well and ticket sales fell.

“A lot of our audience is female and they like to see five good looking guys on stage, doing some rather raunchy dance moves. We went back to an all-male production.”

Motown’s Greatest Hits starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £19.50 (concessions £18.50.) To book go to or call 020 8507 5607.

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