Opening night for Movin’ Melvin Browns I Have Dream (Soul to Soul) show was at the Norwood Live venue, a classic intimate and relaxed cabaret style spot. The room was almost full and crowd was ready to be entertained.
Melvin’s opening was a monologue in the style of Martin Luther King, his ‘I Have A Dream’ theme repeated through out as he stood in the classic slaves clothes of work boots and overalls, calling for all people to be blind of colour, race and nationality and calling for love and brotherhood. Noble but too long winded.
We were then taken on a passage from the African shores and the slave ship travelling to America with Melvin exploring the natural rhythms and beats of tribal music. From their time in America, Melvin explored the origins of ‘Jug dancing’ or tap dancing as we know it and launched into a sensational tap routine that had everyone enthralled. Through all this, Melvin’s infectious smile and Eddie Murphy style laugh made you smile along with him.
The next step in Melvin’s voyage was gospel and with a terrific version of Yes I Know, Melvin converted the room into an Alabama gospel church house complete with the crowd on their feet clapping and singing the gospel with Brother Melvin.
A quick costume change into a sequined red jumpsuit heralded the Blues phase and a clever demonstration of slaves original Music Box Dancing, an early version of mime, hip hop and robotic dance all in one. The music of the Platters and Drifters had the audience up on stage showing off their dance skills to the Monkey, Mash Potato, Twist and the Swim.
Another costume change and an Otis Redding tribute followed including Dock of the Bay and Too Hard to Handle. Through all this, Melvin’s flashing feet were a treat and his energy was excellent.
Melvin’s final costume change brought us a James Brown tribute and Movin’ Melvin Brown was moving like the ‘Godfather of Soul’ across the stage. The four piece band had moved comfortably through the changes in Jazz, R&B and Souls and hit a sweet spot with I Feel Good, unlike the lady back up singer who could not find a sweet spot all night!
Overall, the show was entertaining but raw with opening night glitches and stumbles prevalent. It probably went on for 15 minutes too long but the simple brilliance of the music genres and the energy and enthusiasm of ‘amazing for his age’ song and dance man Movin’ Melvin Brown meant the punters walked away humming a tune and happy with a good night out.
Title of Event: I Have a Dream
Artists: Movin’ Melvin Brown
Reviewer: Kym McGuinness
Venue: Norwood Live, Norwood Hotel
Show times: 9pm
Show dates: 27/2/09 – 08/03/09
Opening Night: 27/2/09