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THOSE WERE THE DAYS – THE CD (article first published : 2001-06-26)

When friends, well-known broadcaster Monica Fairall and actor/director/guitarist Patrick Collyer, decided to revisit the days of their youth and the music of the 60’s and 70’s with which they have the most affinity, they little realised how successful would be the product of their labours. They compiled a programme and then pulled in the talents of three of Durban’s most well-known folk musicians – guitarists Fiona Tozer, Will Wallace and David Atkinson – as well as those of highly versatile actress/singer Angela Dodds.

Those Were the Days opened at the Kwasuka Theatre in February this year and quickly attracted sell-out audiences, resulting in the show being extended and extra performances scheduled.

During one of these performances, a live recording was made and this has now been edited and mastered at The Sound Factory at Philipp Maier to produce a very pleasant CD. Obviously, the whole programme could not be contained in a single CD but the choice of numbers is good and well-representative of the feel of the show and the individual talents of the performers.

Recording live is a fairly fraught business for both cast and sound engineer as there is no room for error. The sound quality of this production is excellent and the mix well-balanced. Unfortunately, technical problems with Woodstock meant that this number, which was a highlight of the show for me, could not be included. But there are plenty of others to enjoy. The cast make-up is a vibrant mix of “theatre” people - Collyer, Fairall and Dodds - with those who work solely in music – Tozer, Wallace and Atkinson. This makes for a solid and sure music foundation with a strong dramatic component.

It’s also a nice reminder to people who haven’t seen the show that Monica Fairall, firmly entrenched behind the Radio South Africa/SAfm radio microphone for many years, was once a folk singer of note. She has returned to the stage after a period of 30 years – during which she became a Miss South Africa! – and audiences can now see the musical side of this gracious performer.

The CD provides easy listening and the performers combine their enjoyment of working together with a sincere respect to the musical style and singers of the period.

Bob Dylan’s Just Like a Woman, Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell), Father and Son (Cat Stevens/Yusef Islam). the whacky Big Blue Frog (Peter, Paul and Mary) and The Boxer (Simon and Garfunkel) are just some of the 19 numbers on the CD.

Those Were the Days can be seen at the Royal Hotel’s Backstage from July 18 to 28 with another Durban season on the cards next year at the Langoustine Theatre by the Sea. The CD costs R90 and will be on sale at both venues. If you can’t wait that long, then contact Patrick Collyer on (031) 209-2818 or e-mail: troubad@iafrica.co - Caroline Smart




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