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AIR GUITAR RETURNS (article first published : 2004-09-8)

Air Guitar returns! The latest in Themi Venturas’s original musicals to honour the guitar in its many versatile forms makes a welcome return to the Catalina Theatre.

The production, which enjoyed critical and public acclaim when it was staged at the Catalina in May, runs at the Catalina for a fortnight during Durban’s busy September season. Far from being a spoof, the concept of Air Guitar is taken very seriously in many circles with nearly three million sites on the worldwide-web, and major international competitions and festivals being dedicated to this much-loved invisible instrument.

Themi Venturas’s tribute to this cult phenomenon features a red-hot band fronted by soloist, velvet-voiced crooner and impish comic, Clinton Philander. The band is Dawn Selby – musical director and keyboards; guitar maestros Rowan Stuart and Collin Peddie with Gavin Muller on bass and Stephen du Plessis (ex Scooters Union) on drums.

The show enjoys a “rock-musical” type feel and features an eclectic musical line-up of carefully-chosen guitar-prominent numbers. The song list includes a somewhat tongue-in-cheek cowboy medley: How the West was Strum with themes from Bonanza; Rebel Rouser, Apache, Ghost Riders in the Storm and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly among others.

There is also a music-from-the-movies sketch with themes from James Bond hits; Batman; Pulp Fiction and Evolution (Play That Funky Music White Boy). There are also an SA, Chuck Berry and Queen medley.

Interspersed with the delightful and hilarious narrative the band performs U2's The Real Thing; the Doobie Brothers’ Listen to the Music; Status Quo's’ Old Time Rock and Roll; Led Zeppelin’s Since I’ve Been Loving You; Chet Atkins/Marc Knopfler’s There'll be some changes Made and Yakkety Yak.

“It feels a bit like a Marc Lottering comedy night meets the best of battle of the bands,” enthuses Themi Venturas.

Air Guitar runs at Catalina Theatre, Wilson’s Wharf, from September 7 to 19 from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20h00 and Sundays at 18h00.

Tickets R65 (R55 concessions) with special rates of two for the price of one every Tuesday and Wednesday. Book at 031 305 6889.




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