So beating the cold and miserable grey January evening Theatre Severn thronged with countless Forty and Fifty -somethings all waiting for the original member of the Drifters, Mr. Roy G Hemmings. It seemed that the audience were indeed ready for a party as they shuffled in for bite size pieces of wonderful nostalgia from a time when 45’s were 50p from Woollies and the charts were on every Sunday.
How will have time affected Mr. H and was his voice still there? More of that later…but first:I would like to turn attention to the back line, Trumpet, Sax, Bass, Drums, Lead Guitar Piano and Organ. What a combination and what a band. They are tight and so well-rehearsed. But even though they have worked so hard on this show their enthusiasm was not only prevalent but highly infectious. The Brass was brilliant but they had to be as the rest of the band were top peg. These guys were going to do a show and they were ready. Known as The Dictionary of Soul Band they alone would have made a great concert but there was so much more to come.
Firstly resembling the Three Degrees in both looks and talent, there was a lovely six song opening set to set the mood. Known as The Love Supremes, they were both breathtakingly beautiful and in everything they did they were sophisticated and graceful and as for their singing they were fantastic. Each one of them capable of filling the two hours alone. With songs from The Supremes, Martha and The Vandellas, Mc. Fadden and Whitehead the list goes on and on and one was captivated not just from their superbly blended voices but their moves right to the fingertips oozed talent, sophistication, elegance and buckets and buckets full of talent. This reviewer for one loved everything about these girls.
But when one thought it couldn’t get any better Mr. Roy G. Hemmings joined the party. Again looking immaculate he was in town to show that he still has it. And what a voice. Showing no signs of strain he easily and melodious dished hit after Motown Hit. In short one will say, yes, he still has it.
One cannot think back to a time when there was such a showman on Theatre Severn main stage before. But Roy Hemmings blew everybody away. Hitting his top C with a clarity and purity, the sound of Motown really was happening. With the Love Supremes now offering solid, reliable and wonderful backing vocals out came hit after hit from a time so long ago.
Although it was a long time ago 40+ years the songs sounded fresh and relevant. The reason for that is plain, this seemed to be a happy cast and the talent between them is utterly unquantifiable, as I said Buckets of it.
It didn’t take long for the audience to be up on their feet desperate to throw a few moves, it was all going on. Between all this fiesta, Mr. H still found time to pose for a photo or two as he cracked on through hit after hit, song after song. It was remarkable.
He looked like one of the youngest guys in the theatre but that couldn’t be possible? However with the energy and exuberance of a man way below his years, he was truly incredible. It was like having a treasure from 1970 that has been wrapped in paper, there is a delight when you throw the paper away and find the treasure just as you left it, sweet, complete and great to look back at. One might liken that analogy to this show, it was an utter delight to be back in that time and to hear the songs we knew and to hear them sounding so fresh was nothing short of utter perfection.
Sadly only in town for one night this reviewer recommends you write his name down or print this article out to remind you and next time you see his name anywhere go and see. He is a Philadelphia Wizard and I do believe Berry Gordy would smile widely if he saw this show were it ever possible. Gordy, of course, founded Tamla Motown and one believes if he saw it he himself he would walk away from it as happy as anyone else that was lucky enough to be there for this spectacle. Truly remarkable.
This is a Five Star Review