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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

ONE VOICE (article first published : 2002-08-2)

Take a talented bunch of youngsters, allow them to speak their mind in their own style of language, add a good variety of songs to showcase their skills, throw in the creative touch of director Themi Venturas and musical director Dawn Selby and you have an entertaining musical.

A musical which gives you a sneak preview, as it were, of who’s going to be hot in the Durban entertainment world in the not-too-distant future.

Producer Linda van der Veen and writer Charon Williams-Ros of the Unilever Bestfoods Robertsons team are to be congratulated in mounting another show in the same mould as last year’s successful Robertsons Young Performers Charity Show, Curtain Up. Coral Chamberlain has created some fun and funky choreography and the setting is simple but effective.

While aiming to provide a positive image in South Africa – and it does get uncomfortably close to soap-box rhetoric at times - One Voice offers young people the opportunity to work in a professional theatre environment in a well-equipped theatre controlled by an efficient technical team. All this and more. They also help to raise funds for the Save The Children Fund.

We’ve seen Clive Gumede’s considerable talents before in Concert Fever and it was good to see that he can sustain a larger role. Tammy Saville and Rebecca Holdsworth impressed me particularly with Little Bird while Danielle Leslie played the blonde bimbo with much aplomb. Thina Mbagha and Muzi Dlamini have strong dramatic skills and other performers who enchanted me were Abby Bryson and Simone Mann. There are no weak links in this show, the youthful cast give their all in a generous, forceful and well-disciplined performance that would match many professional actors or singers.

Playing a pivotal role as the group’s agent is Nothando Mbanda whose powerful voice gave the show a strong dimension. Her Right Time with Tammy Saville was one of the highlights for me.

The young performers have been well schooled in their music and there are some good rich harmonies. Although we don’t get to see them as they are hidden in the orchestra pit, One Voice is supported by a great band made up of Dawn Selby, Barry Thomson, Jason Nel, Mali Sewell and Gavin Muller.

The show also features some original numbers such as Don’t Underestimate a Woman by Charon Williams-Ros and Jason Nel as well as Rainbow Warriors written by Themi Venturas and Dawn Selby, the latter being performed with much visual impact. CD’s are available for sale in the foyer for R50.

The show closes on August 4. Booking is at Computicket. – Caroline Smart




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