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

CHANSON D’AMOUR (article first published : 2003-03-12)

Back in Durban after a two-year absence, this time performing at the Catalina Theatre on Wilson’s Wharf, is singer Daničle Pascal who is a long-time favourite of local audiences.

While the opening number C’est si Bon was deliciously frivolous and coquettish, the first half of the show was fairly structured with a well-selected series of songs. However, they featured very little of the normally irrepressible Daničle. Almost as if she was in awe of the wide Catalina stage and chose to be ultra-careful with her material.

This I believe to be a passing moment, as it were. Having driven all the way from Cape Town to open her new show – stopping off at Mark Banks’ for an overnight stay at Hanover – she was still a little unfamiliar with the dimensions and sightlines of The Catalina. She also had a scant three days to rehearse with her Durban-based accompanist, Anne Duthie, who is a skilful and sympathetic musical partner.

It was also a strange experience for both singer and audience to see Daničle in a non-dining and more formal environment when we are used to seeing her in the informal supper theatre and cabaret format.

Things changed dramatically in the second half as Daničle reverted to her natural ebbulient personality, sharing memories and amusing incidents in her busy life. Then we saw and enjoyed the endearing entertainer that she is. There is a hilarious account of her new home in Napier (near Arniston), which she has converted into a tiny restaurant and which also provides home for three whippets and three chickens!

After an informal chat I had with her after the performance, I can predict that Durban audiences will see the Daničle they know and love from now on in both sections of the show. And hopefully the bad sound system will have been exchanged for a better one.

So go and enjoy her relaxing programme which contains pleasing renditions of songs like The Old Fashioned Way or Dance Me to the End of Love and of course, French numbers such as Padam, La Vie en Rose and Je ne regrette rien, to name a few.

Now virtually an “honorary Afrikaaner” through her successful touring shows that take in the small platteland towns, Daničle has been invited to appear at UKASI, an annual Afrikaans festival which takes place in Wembley in London – no kidding! Chosen by audience poll, she will head off to the UK later in the year for this major event which is sponsored by KWV and well supported by South African ex-pats.

Chanson D’Amour runs at the Catalina Theatre from March 12 to April 6. Bookings through 031 305 6889. Her CD’s are available in the foyer at a cost of R90.– Caroline Smart




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