American song and dance man Movin’ Melvin Brown is not content to have just one show at the Fringe (The Ray Charles Experience), or two (an interactive workshop Tap into Health - Movin’ with Melvin) but three. This particular show takes the audience on a journey charting the African American ascent out of slavery through the popular music and dance of the time.
Brown began his odyssey in dungarees and was soon tap dancing away as if his feet were not responsible for holding up the rest of him, just having a good time on their own. The collective joy expressed by the audience when Brown got everyone up and dancing to the rip roaring gospel song proved we all believed in Mr Brown!
A quick change later and he was back in a tuxedo to sing the blues and dance like Michael Jackson interspersed with some more awesome tap. It is the sort of tap I wish I could do - you know, like in dreams when your feet just start moving and you feel fluid like Ginger Rogers. It’s OK, it’s your dream, you can be Ginger if you want.
Next came his interpretations of Otis Redding songs which sounded pretty close and after another quick change he became James Brown. This part of the act was suffused with comedy including some audience participation. Brown gave us a flavour of one of his other shows with a few Ray Charles numbers to finish.
Throughout the show Brown displayed incredible energy and a wide smile, never faltering for a moment. He gave so much to the audience who returned the love with their dancing, whooping and applause. His high-octane footwork was truly impressive and it was hard to imagine that he had another show to do just a few hours after. A consummate performer with a huge talent to entertain, it is a shame that the chronological theme seemed to peter out and a shame that the only member of the band to share Brown’s energy was the drummer.