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Sunday, October 19, 2008


(Pictured: Clive Gumede, Pume Zondi and Khaya Mthethwa)

Worthy tribute to the legends of Motown by talented trio, back by popular demand. (Review by Maurice Kort)

In Motown on Deck at the Upper Deck, the music and songs of the legends of Motown are paid tribute to by the Solid Gold Band who looked most professional and very smart as they assembled on stage in white shirts, white ties and black trousers. They are subsequently joined by the trio of Black Magic consisting of Clive Gumede and Khaya Mthethwa, very smart, also fully in white, and the very glamorous Pume Zondi, in a stunning black and white dress. They clearly aimed to please the audience and they certainly did, obviously having great fun at the same time.

They immediately burst into the rousing Shop Around and Wait till the Midnight Hour, the first of many upbeat, loud swinging numbers which had the audience enjoying themselves to the fullest. Baby Don't Leave Me followed.

Clive Gumede acts as the MC and announces that the show has been brought back by popular demand. One can understand why. It is a very polished and enjoyable production saluting the legends of Motown, including Smokey Robinson (Take a Good Look At My Face), The Temptations ( Just My Imagination), Marvin Gaye (The Grapevine), Peaches and Herb (Reunited), Gladys Knight & the Pips (Neither One Of Us), and Stevie Wonder. Other hits featured were Let’s Get It On, Papa Was A Rolling Stone (my favourite), You’re All I Need, My Cherie Amour and The World Is A Great Big Onion. The first half ended with a resounding rendition of Yesterday, Today and Forever.

The three move well to the music, full credit to them and the choreographer, and use the large stage which stretches the width of the Phantom Ship, with Pume Zondi and Khaya Mthethwa even having brief meanders among the audience, with whom they interacted well and to the great delight of the audience. Each has an opportunity to shine in solo numbers, and they do.

In the second half, the three appear in very colourful more informal costumes, these having been designed by fashion guru, Kevin Ellis. They lead with You Are the Apple of My Eye followed by further songs of more legends of Soul, Rhythm & Blues and hit Motown sounds, including chart toppers by Luther Van Dross and Diana Ross, in an all too short second half which ended in a medley of about nine songs which included Proud Mary, I've Got Sunshine, My Girl, My Guy, Stop, in the Name of Love and Ain't No Mountain High Enough. Each could well have been given longer treatments as they had the audience clamouring for more, and they were not disappointed.

The show concentrates on the songs and music with minimal patter, mainly by Clive Gumede. This is reserved for his acknowledgements to all those involved in the show, including the Manager (Wayne Scott), Producer (Andre van Wyk), Director (Charon Williams-Ros), Choreographer, waiters, kitchen staff, lighting, sound and follow spot operators, all of whom do an excellent job, and the top class band consisting of drums, saxophone, piano, lead guitar and bass guitar and, of course, the three singers. All deserved full credit but Clive Gumede tended to drag this out and milk the audience for applause. The buffet is indeed delicious and the front of house and waiters are very attentive.

Motown on Deck runs at The Phantom Ship, Upper Deck restaurant, at uShaka Marine World until November 9 on Thursdays to Saturdays for dinner at 19h00 with the show at 20h00 (Sundays lunch from 13h00 with the performance at 14h00). The show and buffet are R150 with bookings on 031 328 8068 or at Computicket. The best way to reach the Phantom Ship is through uShaka's Parking B. Travel along Point Road ignoring the uShaka bus and public parking entrances and continue until Camperdown Road. It is then a short walk across the shopping boulevard and onto the ship and the Upper Deck. – Maurice Kort