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BRUTAL TUNES (article first published : 2004-03-17)

Director Caroline Smart and her talented team – singer/comedienne Lisa Bobbert, pianist/entertainer Anthony Stonier, and pianist Andrew Warburton – have repeated the success of their show, previously seen at the Royal Backstage towards the end of last year.

This time, the sophisticated concoction of words and song is being performed in a “new look” Kwasuka Theatre, where the audience sits at tables in the area formerly occupied by the stage. The stage for Brutal Tunes has been neatly tucked into the wings – in other words, the action is played across the width of the theatre. This all makes for a cosy, cabaret feel.

Another change is that backing tracks have been dispensed with and the presentation is entirely live. Two songs have been added – the amusing and contemporary Frida and Barry by Victoria Wood and Noel Coward’s That is the End of the News.

Lisa Bobbert has emerged as a performer with considerable comic gifts. She excels in the rousing Master of the House by Claude Boubill and An Englishman Needs Time by Eartha Kitt. In Noel Coward mode, she enthrals the audience with a wickedly tipsy interpretation of I’ve Been to a Marvellous Party.

Multi-talented Anthony Stonier complements her performances in numbers such as Stephen Sondheim’s Getting Married Today and in the black humour of Poisoning Pigeons in the Park by Tom Lehrer.

For me, the high points of Anthony Stonier’s performance were A Bar on the Piccola Marina, another Coward composition; the poignant drag queen’s lament Put a Little More Mascara On by Jerry Herman, and the delightful Gay Eskimo by Adam Sandler.

Andrew Warburton provides solid backing on the piano and demonstrates his versatility with his home-made Brutal Concerto. The 70-minute presentation, played without an interval, is slick and delightful and an antidote to the everyday blues.

The show is strongly recommended for first-timers and also for those who have already seen the presentation. It still has an invigoratingly fresh feel to it.

Impresario/director Greg King is to be commended on making the Kwasuka Theatre so user-friendly.

Brutal Tunes runs until April 10 at Kwasuka which is situated opposite the Greyville Post Office in Stamford Hill Road, with parking in Kent Road under car guard supervision. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own picnic supper but are requested to buy alcohol from the Kwasuka bar. Bookings on 082 882 9869 or at Computicket. – Patrick Leeman




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