Tag Archives: musical

Mamma Mia is Here Again My Life | My Reviews 30 AUG 2010

So last week’s Mamma Mia musical didn’t quite clear Chantelle’s flu away, but it certainly did bring a smile to her face, brought out a laugh or two and got her head bopping to the music – so in terms of just that it was a great success then!

As for the show itself, it really was a fun show, well worth the ticket price and a great bit of fluffy, light-hearted entertainment. No wonder the Artscape was full house as per usual then! ;)

We had great seats, in the middle, towards the front and these proved to be awesome as we had the perfect view of the action happening before us the whole way through the show.

The set design is extremely simple with a single backdrop employed throughout the entire show, cleverly lighted to dictate different times of the day and complemented by a brilliant circular sliding set of three stylized panels which basically swung in and out, or around in a circular pattern to make up the various aspects of the Greek island taverna, effortlessly depicting the outside of the structure, the inner courtyard, room interiors, the works – in other words dead simple and an absolutely brilliant concept!

As for the cast, they were all brilliant and suitably lively in their respective roles (even the guy who used to play Wimpie in Orkney Snork Nie was pretty okay), while the singing was all pretty much perfect to boot – no terrible Pierce Brosnan on the night to deal with in other words! ;)

The end result is a great light hearted show which will have you tapping your foot merrily along, even if you aren’t the world’s greatest ABBA fan. Loads of fun and a guaranteed good night’s entertainment, that’s for sure!

Related Link: http://www.mammamiasa.co.za/


Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats… at the Artscape My Life | My Reviews 13 JAN 2010

I’m not a great theatre lover, I’ll easily admit to that, but I do agree that there are some theatre productions and musicals that one simply has to see during their lifetime, as simple as that. And having already seen Phantom and the Opera when it was brought to the Artscape a couple of years ago, it was no surprise to find myself being dragged through to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats last Thursday evening in the company of my dearest wife and the rest of the Montgomery horde! :P

Despite being nearly at the end of its run, the play was proving to be as popular as ever and on entry we discovered that there was literally not an empty seat in the house – row upon row of people packed the auditorium as we settled back to enjoy the show. The stage had been transformed into a wondrous junkyard full of oversized junk featuring everyday items like tennis raquets and discarded tins, with dart holes and little dank corridors permeating every nook and cranny. Dotted in amongst this plethora of rubbish was a veritable forest of lighting and special effects gadgets in place, as come the actual show, you as the viewer were to be bombarded by a constant stream of excellent lighting and special effects trickery!

Now as for the musical itself, you must understand that I found it rather nonsensical and quite pointless at that, trying to weave in a whole lot of pointless information and attempting to tie it all up as a story – but then I guess you didn’t really come to this particular production for that now did you? As for the musical numbers, while most are rather forgettable and certainly don’t rank amongst Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best, you would be silly not to recognise one of his greatest compositions that does indeed worm its way into this particular play – and that is the sensational “Memories” of course, performed more than ably in this particular production it must be said.

Actually, on that note, all the musical numbers throughout the musical (apart from the one or two performed by that Brit with the screechy, high-pitched voice) were particularly well executed, though I must just make one small gripe (still ignoring that woman), this one being directed at the black operatic singer cast as the old Deuteronomy. Unfortunately his accent was so overbearing it was difficult to make out what he was singing about, leading to a horrible break in the story as you simply couldn’t follow what he was trying to tell you! So in other words, not cool at all.

As for the dancing however, man was the cast ever so spectacular. With twists, twirls, lifts and tumbles, the cast put in a stellar acrobatic performance that captured the lively energy of Cats to perfection and kept the audiences’ eyes glued firmly to the stage – all of which combined with some excellent musical performances, production values and special effects to make for a particularly smooth, polished and professional production.

Oh, and don’t forget the fantastic, if a little outlandish costumes and make-up that adorned each “cat”. Absolutely fantastic work done in that department, believe you me!

The show was a long one, breaking once about halfway in at the hour and a half mark, and as is the custom, some of the cats came to play in amongst the crowd, providing plenty of laughs and more than a couple of startles as well! :)

Overall though, I must say outside of the high production value of this yet again quality Pieter Toerien presentation, Cats left me feeling… well a little disappointed. Yes, it was excellent in every aspect of its presentation and acting, but the play is pretty meh as far as I am concerned. It’s whimsical and doesn’t really go anywhere, hurries to a conclusion and is quite frankly, quickly forgotten. (But I guess I’m in the minority on this one, seeing as it is one of the longest running plays across the world, so I’ll just shake my head and accept that I suppose.)

Still, at least I can now say that I have seen it in my lifetime – and hopefully now will never have to cross paths with it ever again! :P


Dancing Queen My Life | My Reviews 05 AUG 2008

Agnetha FaltskogThe last time I was at the fantastic Barnyard Theatre situated in Willowbridge Mall, Durbanville, was way back in July last year, so you can understand my excitement at the prospect of returning to that great venue this past Saturday evening. It’s just too bad that the reason for returning was none other than a tribute to ABBA and Queen concert, two bands which I truthfully hold no love nor nostalgia for (apart from a miserly handful of songs – like the Highlander series theme tune – which of course sadly did not feature in the lineup).

However, in the quest to be fair, I hereby offer my objective, free from all possible negative thoughts that I might unconsciously be emanating, review of the show: Simply put, it was great. Really, really great (and this pains me so. Saying good things about ABBA comes with great difficulty to me) .

Dancing Queen: A Tribute to ABBA, Queen and the 70’s and 80’s pays homage to admittedly two of the biggest and most influential names in the pop and rock genres, namely Swedish foursome ABBA and British-based Queen, as well as to the period in which glitz, glam and some of the greatest radio tunes were actually written. The show covers both groups’ greatest hits and then takes it a step further by combining the two to leave you with what can only be described as a musical extravaganza!

The show is currently enjoying a highly popular and limited run (it finishes up on the 17 August), meaning that we had to book our tickets literally months ago already. The original plan had been for Chantelle and me to join up with Monty, Cheryl, Mom, Pops, Claire and Riley, but an unfortunate scheduling clash led to Claire and Riley relinquishing their tickets which were then picked up by Daphne and Andre (Mom and Pop’s friends).

So on Saturday evening just after 19:30 with platters of food already in hand and quick trip to the bar to buy overpriced wine, the eight of us settled down in our surprisingly good seats that saw us seated on the upper tier of the venue, directly in front of the stage which gave us the perfect viewpoint from which to survey the evening’s proceedings. It wasn’t a long wait as the theatre quickly became full, packed to capacity, and the lights dimmed to reveal a starry stage and some unusually dressed in white chaps sitting ready behind a piano and a guitar.

And then it happened. Two particularly good looking women in signature furry white ABBA outfits burst onto stage and we were instantly transported back to 1973 when ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo.

Naturally the slightly older crowd (and Chantelle) went wild as the foursome backed by some talented guys on lead guitar, bass guitar and drums started belting out veritable ABBA hit after hit, driving us back with an explosion of fluffy pop beats and lyrics that saw me drive my head into my hands in despair and the rest of the crowd start swinging their glow sticks about wildly in the air.

Luckily the initial ABBA assault didn’t last too long as the lights once again dimmed and next out on stage were three good looking guys rocking out to some of the older Queen material, which funnily enough not that many of the people instantly recognized. Again, we only got a handful of songs (which were far more enjoyable to me than the ABBA stuff) before the switcheroo happened once again and we got some more ABBA from the ladies (all in completely new outfits again) .

And so the night unfolded. Hit song after hit song, constantly switching between ABBA and Queen, an insane amount of costume changes, an extremely versatile band of musicians which saw almost everyone on stage take the lead on a song, lots of props and even some musical comedy to boot as well!

The music performed moved in pretty much a chronological order, meaning we got to hear almost all the big ABBA hits, including songs like Waterloo, Ring, Ring, SOS, Does your mother know, Thank you for the music, Knowing me Knowing you, Mamma Mia, Money, Money, Take a chance on me, I have a dream and Voulez Vous.

Similarly on the Queen side of the spectrum the crowd got to enjoy hits like Killer Queen, Somebody to love, We are the Champions, Don’t stop me now, Death on two legs, You’re my best friend, Love of my life, It’s a kind of Magic, Radio Ga Ga, The Show Must Go On, Another one bites the dust, Who wants to live forever and of course, Bohemian Rhapsody.

The eleven piece cast consisting of James Dobson on piano and keyboards, Adrian Beecham on guitar and vocals, Jason Guile on guitar and vocals, Adrian Poulsen, Darren Vercuile and Rene’ Kruger on male vocals, Cherise Roberts and Monique Steyn on female vocals, Juan Smit on drums and Donovan Thatcher on bass guitar can all only be described as extremely polished and competent performers and they managed to entertain and hold the crowd’s attention for the entire duration of the show (which is almost a good 3 hours long!).

So in summary, despite the fact that I don’t like the music (well mainly ABBA’s stuff anyway), the show itself was spectacular and an absolute masterpiece in terms of its production, quality and performances, and judging by the crowd’s response, you’ll be a fool to miss this musical spectacle of the year. Thoroughly worth the entrance price and definitely something you should make an effort to go and see – particularly if you are a fan of the 70’s and 80’s music revolution!

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Related Link: http://www.barnyardtheatre.co.za/spage.php?theatre_id=5