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STILL CRAZY (article first published : 2004-08-26)

Many will remember with nostalgia those Durban nights of comedy and folk music at well-known venues like the Athlone and Edward Hotels back in the 60’s. Of course, many others won’t, but that does not necessarily mean they weren’t there at the time!

There’s a chance to enjoy that special brand of Durban entertainment affectionately remembered as “folk ‘n funny” when South African comedy legend, Mel Miller, re-unites with that master of country rock, Brian Finch, at The Catalina later this month.

They promise to raise the roof with Still Crazy After All These Years, a celebration of 40 years of performing in the arts industry.

Mel Miller, who began his career with a one-month contract at The Edward Hotel in Durban, and ending up staying for two years, shot to fame in 1976 with the country’s first television comedy series Biltong And Potroast.

“It took me 12 years to become an overnight success,” he quips. Of course, he went on to become a household name with South African audiences across the board. More recently he has helped establish venues like Hysterix at The Randburg Waterfront, and in 1997 he joined Shaun Griggs in Things To Do In Joburg When You’re Dead And Haven’t Realised It at the Liberty Theatre on the Square, which played to packed houses. He has since appeared in Captain Chaos Returns as well as at large scale events like the 5fm Comedy Jam as well as the annual Smirnoff International Comedy Festival.

Brian Finch was “thrown into the musical deep end” at the age of 18 in Durban by Mel Miller, Mel Green and Julian Laxton. "Sing, man", they told him. And he did, playing his first regular gig on the Al Fresco Hotel veranda on the Esplanade.

Over the years Brian Finch has gone onto create 10 albums, including Playgrounds In Paradise with Kenny Henson which was used as the soundtrack to a major surfing movie. He has performed at folk festivals and concerts across the length and breadth of South Africa, and as far afield as London and Stockholm. Now based in Cape Town, this consummate country rock musician still enthralls audiences with his unique sound.

Performances are nightly at 20h00 (Sundays at 18h00) from August 28 to September 5. For more information or to book contact the Catalina Theatre on 031 305 6889.




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