"Soul Train" is a show celebrating the legendary hits of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, The Temptations, The Three Degrees, Sam & Dave, Marvin Gaye and many others. It includes songs such as 'Midnight Train To Georgia', 'When Will I See You Again', 'Under The Boardwalk', 'Soul Man', 'If You Don't Know Me By Now', and many others. The show is devised by Mark Clements and Michael Vivian, and actually started life under the title 'The Grapevine' at the Derby Playhouse in 1998.
Without doubt this show is for soul music fans only. If you are crazy about soul music you will be crazy about this show. The cast gets through some 44 songs, which are performed dynamically by a very talented cast. This is also a show with lots and lots of audience participation, so if you don't like getting involved beware!
'Soul Train' stars Sheila Ferguson, Prince Charles's favourite singer. Sheila is a true professional with all her star qualities coming out in this show. She has the ability to sing slow, quiet songs as well as pounding out high notes on powerful songs. Sheila is not the only star of the show. The whole cast performs incredibly well, each with their own charm and character on stage. Notable mentions are Sharon Benson, Melanie E. Marshall and Jason Pennycooke.
I cannot recommend this show to those who are not true Soul fans. I am quite neutral to this type of music myself. I neither love nor hate it. In small doses it is fine, but for two and half-hours it is far too much for me.
So what does the popular press think? THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Soul Train may be a lazy, ramshackle and short-lived excuse for a show, but the soul itself is immortal." THE SUNDAY TIMES says "Uplifting party fare for anyone who keeps a copy of The Blues Brothers next to the home VCR." THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "I'm afraid Soul Train is just another bog-standard compilation show with none of the ingenuity of Mamma Mia!" THE FINANCIAL TIMES says, "Even that shameless exercise in exploitation, The Blues Brothers stage show, has more plot than Soul Train. "
"Soul Train" is professionally produced and is of high quality. It is a lot of fun and is bursting with energy. It is a dream for soul music fans, but a nightmare for musical theatre fans!