Review - Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations - Prince Edward Theatre, London

Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations - Prince Edward Theatre, London

Ain't Too Proud is a musical biopic centered around The Temptations, with a book by Dominique Morisseau and music and lyrics by ‘the renowned Motown catalogue’.

The production is narrated by Sifiso Mazibuk in the role of Otis Williams. Initially, I was somewhat skeptical about watching another biopic musical, however, my reservations were quickly dispelled when the cast started singing. I can confidently say that I have never witnessed such an impressive array of distinct and commanding male voices in a single show. Each character's vocal range and ability are showcased as they join the band, with Cameron Bernard Jones' performance as Melvin Franklin particularly standing out to me, thanks to his smooth and deep voice. Similarly, Tosh Wanogho-Maud, in the role of David Ruffin, impressed me with his dynamic voice, magnetic stage presence, and undeniable charisma. Although the Supremes have a smaller role in the narrative, their performances were equally as commendable as the gentlemen mentioned above. While I won't discuss every cast member, I must note that each performer delivered an exceptional vocal performance that was a delight to listen to.

Sergio Trujillo's choreography is consistent with the era and is executed with perfection, with a particularly memorable routine performed after the interval that was both hilarious and added to the story's progression.
The show also addresses the Race Riots and Martin Luther King's assassination, with the scenes leading up to these events masterfully building tension without taking away from the overarching narrative. These scenes are performed in an honest and sensitive way, which is a testament to Director Des McAnuff's skill.

The second half of the show is an emotional rollercoaster, and I would advise bringing some tissues.

The whole design department worked seamlessly, with the use of lighting, projectors, and fly-in video walls adding to the production's overall ambiance. The colour scheme is predominantly monochrome, with a few splashes of colour and the warm glow of show business white lights.

Overall, I would highly recommend Ain't Too Proud to everyone. If you see it advertised, I suggest saying "I like the sound of that" and grab a ticket.

This show was reviewed on the 19th April 2023.  It runs at the Prince Edward Theatre until the 1st October 2023.  Tickets available here: Delfont Mackintosh Theatres

***** stars

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Photo credit: Johan Persson