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TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY (article first published : 2005-05-31)

As the musical production for 2005, Durban High School (DHS) has chosen Truly, Madly, Deeply. When the publicity material came through for this, I must admit to a certain sense of confusion.

The Truly, Madly, Deeply I know is the heart-achingly beautiful film which marked the first directing job of Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) in the late 1990’s. Superb performances come from Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson in this story about a dead husband who returns to his wife’s home, bringing a bunch of friends with him who sit around and watch videos!

DHS’s Truly, Madly, Deeply is strongly based on the 1995 Australian movie Cosi directed by Mark Joffe in which Ben Mendelsohn is employed as drama therapist at a mental hospital where he attempts to stage a production of Mozart's Così fan tutte - not without a certain amount of chaos in the process!

As DHS directors Donovan Fletcher and Jean McBean have drawn their material from Cosi, as well as The Fisher King while including a nod to Moulin Rouge, I don’t see the logic in calling the show Truly, Madly, Deeply.

However, that aside, they have created an enjoyable production that showcases some exciting up and coming talent. The musical is consistently disciplined and well-directed, from the slick opening scene in the radio studio to the group finale. Joining DHS boys for this show are girls from Marist Stella, Girls High, Fatima and Crawford.

Much praise must go to Dylan Rhodes (Jack) and Matthew Venturas (Baz), the two main characters. With pleasant and true voices, they perform their roles with sincerity and maturity and a future in the performing arts could well be an option for them. Matthew was particularly notable for his handling of the dry humour of this complex character. Gareth Purchase also impressed as Roy, as did Julie Grant (Anne), Donna Steel (Lydia) and Khaya Mthembu (Errol).

The argument scenes by Dylan Rhodes and Julie Grant were so effectively enacted that the audiences became spontaneously vocal in support of one or the other! The music was well-arranged and often the backing vocals came from both on and off stage.

I did have a problem with the style of microphones used – those members of the cast wearing them looked as if they belonged to a stage management crew working on a massive rock concert production. Lavaliers hidden in the hairline would have been far more appropriate.

Truly, Madly, Deeply will run to June 2. The café opens at 18h00 offering a variety of food, sweets and drinks. The show begins at 19h00 and tickets are R25. To book, contact 031 277 1500. – Caroline Smart




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