Ain't Too Proud: The Life & Times of the Temptations

“With velvet smooth harmonies, do not miss this incredible cast”.

The Prince Edward Theatre is the home of the new West End musical Ain’t Too Proud that tells the story of the Motown sensation The Temptations and their succession of 25 members that have formed the line-up since their formation in the 1960s.

Ain’t Too Proud is your archetypal jukebox musical where the songs are used to illuminate what was happening in the band’s history.  The original young men who formed The Temptations were born and raised in the southern states of the USA with its inbuilt racism.  The boys are keen to sing their way to the top, and cross over to be listened to and played by the white populous. They have to work hard to achieve success, eventually being signed by the Motown bosses.  However, the increase in fame and popularity, not least with the touring life-style, takes its toll on each member’s life.

If you know anything of The Temptations you would expect the songs to be the stars of this musical, with an extensive back catalogue of tight-harmony songs.   There is some interesting story telling and the show is packed with their great music, but given that each song has a very familiar ‘sound’ potentially there are too many songs which leads to only a few memorable moments. The real star element of this show is the choreography and energetic moves of the cast who work really hard throughout the production.

There are many things to credit this show with. The scene changes are slick.  The leads (Sifiso Mazibuko, Kyle Cox, Cameron Bernard Jones and Mitchell Zilangazila) are strong, with a stand-out performance being given by Tosh Wanogho-Maud.  There was also a freshness added to the story with the introduction of the three women playing the Supremes. 

A poor sound balance at the opening of the show took some minutes to rectify which was disappointing, not least because the cast had to work so much harder and lost the impact/wow factor of the opening number.

The producers, cast and crew should be rightly proud of the production values of this show – however for me, too much of the show sounds and looks the same.  The Juke Box Musical is a crowded market and whether this show is distinctive enough remains to be seen.  There is no mistaking the incredible talent on stage though, with no weak link and harmonies that are velvet smooth.

The show is currently booking until the 1st October 2023.  Tickets available here: Ain't Too Proud at Prince Edward Theatre

Review written by Paul Wood

Photo credit: Johan Persson

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