Every Mother’s day my Mother-in-Law takes the whole family out to some form of Dinner Theatre. This year we made a trip to Tibbies in Fontana to their “Motown Motor City Revue” full of good music, a mediocre meal with extra cheese provided by the performers who were also your waiters. The Center Stage in Fontana is a unique space, painted in bright reds and purples; it is an old movie theatre that has been converted. The theme of the afternoon was set quickly when the waiters all got up on stage and sang a Motown-themed song entitled “Salads” which informed the audience that they would about to be eating their pre-dinner salads. Causing chuckles around the room it was obvious this performance was going to be corny and filled with catchy tunes.
What was very pleasant was once the not-too-appetizing dinner was over the show started and it had a documentary aspect to it. This I appreciated very much, I am very familiar with the music that the Motown Record label produced but not with how the label and the artists associated with it came about. The production would have some video and an announcer describing the formation of Motown and then a song would be performed by the seven cast members. The cast was all talented and they were able to convey the extremely well-known songs in a complimentary manner and did not butcher any of them.
The stars of the show definitely belonged to the male side of the cast. The women were good but the men were great and their stage presence far surpassed that of the women. John Grant stole the stage with his impersonations of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and his rendition of “Brick House” which was spot on. Sherman McLaurin did his own stealing of the show with his appearance as Diana Ross. With an out-of-this world dress by Jennifer Vigiletti, McLaurin was excellent in keeping the audience involved, one criticism of this part of the show is that it did go on too long.
Overall Tibbies “Motown Motor City Revue” is full of great songs, performers who have a lot of fun with the material and a full bar, which will come in handy if over the top corniness is not your cup of tea. This is a great place to take anyone who loves the music of the “Jackson 5”, “The Temptations” “Smokey Robinson” and any of the other greats of Motown. When you do go, don’t expect out-of-this world performances or something of high class, if you come in with that mind set you will have fun and will be wanting to listen to the music of the 60’s for the next few days, which is a great way to come out of any show.