Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Martha Reeves is spellbinding. Her presence, personality and vocal range are astounding, and her show was a powerhouse of hits and dance numbers, oozing with infectious energy.

With a whole new band comprising the ‘Vandellas’, 72-year-old Reeves dominated the stage. Despite there being some highly talented musicians in the band (the tenor sax delivered a particularly powerful solo at the end), it was impossible to watch anyone other than the mesmerising frontwoman. Despite tripping on her way onto the stage and having a dress that kept falling down, Reeves approached the whole night with good humour and took everything in her stride. She was constantly interacting with the audience, making jokes and boogieing away, as well as paying lip service to numerous other Motown legends. Her playful anecdotes showed that she is still sassy as ever, announcing that despite the many covers (she reeled off the extensive list), ‘Dancing In The Street’ was written for her, so it is officially her song. Boy does she make that clear in her triumphant finale.

Reeve’s range is impressive, with an effortless ability to switch between registers instantly. Some of her best vocals were in her slower songs, showing restraint, clarity and emotion - for example the beautiful ‘Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things)’. However, without a doubt, the highlights were her funky soul numbers - the aforementioned ‘Dancing in the Streets’, ‘Jimmy Mack’, ‘Heatwave’ and ‘Forget Me Not’. She was always getting the crowd going, encouraging them to dance the funky chicken, do the ‘Temptations walk’, and even Tina Turner impressions - which she pulled off fantastically.

Her encore, a reprise of ‘Dancing in the Streets’, was inspirational. Seeing Reeves dancing with audience members onstage as she paid tribute to the likes of Stevie Wonder and Eddie Floyd, showed how much the audience and Reeves herself loves this music. As she carried on singing and dancing away whilst being ushered off stage by security, the message was clear: Martha Reeves is still a force to be reckoned with.

Reviews by Carys Evans

The Battersea Barge

I Love You You're Perfect Now Change

★★★
The Crazy Coqs Cabaret & Jazz Club

Ray Shell - Back To Black II

★★★
Camden People's Theatre

The Forensics of a Flat (and other stories)

★★★
Leicester Square Theatre / THE LONDON THEATRE - New Cross

Jo Burke: Burke Shire

★★★
St James Theatre

Urinetown: The Musical

★★★★

Back To Black

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

The definitive Motown legends, famous internationally for hits Dancing in the Street, Nowhere to Run, Heat Wave and Jimmy Mack perform a blistering set of soul classics on their first festival appearance. ***** (Scotsman). **** (Herald).

Most Popular See More

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Anything Goes

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets