Ain’t Too Proud at Prince Edward Theatre
Ain’t Too Proud tells the origin story of the Temptations in 1961 through to the Reunion Tour in the early 1980’s through the eyes of Otis Williams. We learn how Otis Williams brought the band together, how they signed to the Motown record label and worked with Smokey Robinson, how David Ruffin joined…and left the group through to the bands psychedelic era and beyond. Within that the audience are treated to iconic songs such as ‘My Girl,’ ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now,’ ‘Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone,’ ‘ What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’ and many many more.
This show works on many many levels but its key draw has to be the music. Ain’t Too Proud features hit after hit by the Temptations and other Motown artists of their era and all are arranged beautifully for this production. Most of them are performed as if it is the Temptations performing them at a gig or rehearsal so they rarely move the story along but this doesn’t matter a huge amount in this show. The storyline is genuinely interesting and there were real moments of sadness and drama as well as highlighting the groups chart topping successes.
The cast were all utterly incredible. Tosh Wanogho-Maud played David Ruffin who was the lead singer and essentially the front man of the group from 1964-1968. With Tosh in this role you utterly believed that Ruffin was the star of the show when he was with The Temptations. Wanogho-Maud’s vocals was jaw droopingly brilliant and he oozed charisma, making him a perfect fit for this role. Sifiso Mazibuko took on the role of Otis Williams, a huge part where a commanding presence is required and Mazibuko has this in abundance. His rendition of ‘What Becomes To The Broken Hearted’ was genuinely moving and you really felt like he was the father of the group, doing his best to keep them all together.
I was also lucky enough to see a debut with Simon Montague in the role of Melvin Franklin, and he was wonderful in the role, I immediately warmed to his softer spoken ways in contrast to the rest of the band and his vocals blended brilliantly with the rest of the group. Whilst I have singled out a few of the cast in this review, what worked so well in Ain’t Too Proud was how they blended and worked as a group with each cast member playing a vital role in this.
The staging was cleverly done and the story flowed really well due to a set which was simple enough to flow on and off easily but still have a wow factor when needed. Additionally choreography may not be something that would spring to mind when you think of Ain’t Too Proud but this cast are super slick, with their moves being polished to perfection and fitting perfectly in with the vibe of the show, Credit therefore to Sergio Trujillo, the choreographer for making the dance element of Ain’t Too Proud blend so seamlessly in with the rest of the show.
Overall Ain’t Too Proud is a must see, not only for Motown fans but for music fans in general, crammed full of hit songs, performed by a jaw dropping cast and slick staging to boot!
Ain’t Too Proud is on at The Prince Edward Theatre. To find out more and book tickets check out their website here.