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A TOUCH OF BROADWAY (article first published : 2006-04-10)

Ed Note: This review should have been posted at the time the show was running. However, as the Westville Theatre Club do such sterling work, it was considered worthwhile running the review even though the production is long gone.

A Touch of Broadway was devised and directed by Devin Möller. It is hard to believe that he is still at school, in Grade 11, as the result is superb in every way with some most imaginative and excellent touches. He was ably assisted by Andrea Zorab-Kaminsky (assistant director and choreographer) and Heather Dix (musical director). The sound and lighting were in the capable hands of Carole Brown and Jo Mole-Zorab, respectively - Devin kept his hand in by operating the follow spot. Club members pitched in with all the other aspects that make a show a success, from backstage, front of house, wardrobe, make-up, advertising, business manager, bookings and printing to set construction.

The show comprises 18 numbers from hit musicals, hence the title. A feature of the show is how a great deal of effort has been made to have the presentation and delivery faithful to the form and spirit of the originals, be it singing, costumes - which were absolutely magnificent - and format, such as having animals accompanying the excellent rendition of Circle of Life by Francois Vermaak from The Lion King. The one exception was unfortunately I Don't Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar by Raine Pratt which I did not enjoy as it was not true to the spirit of the original.

Just about every cast member had a chance to deliver a solo - even the dancers, Tony Fourie proving in The Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Show to be no mean singer as well as his being an enthusiastic dancer. There were two delightfully presented songs: Wilkommen (faithfully sung by Cedric Parker to open the show) and Cabaret (Krystal Temmerman, :Leanne Miles and Raine Pratt). I particularly liked the way Raine acted while singing and reacted to her co-stars. She also shone in All That Jazz from Chicago. The number would, however, have been hugely improved had she also worn high heel shoes, as did the accompanying dancers - I do appreciate the financial constraints of the show though.

Other highlights of the evening which I particularly enjoyed were Aquarius by Rashid Fataar from Hair; Grease (Jerryn Fosteras) and Summer Nights (Rashid and Leanne) from Grease; Don't Cry For Me Argentina by Susan Watt from Evita; a brilliantly executed show stopping (interval followed) One from A Chorus Line by the full chorus; Any Dream will Do from Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat beautifully sung by Samir Areff; and Lambeth Walk from Me and My Girl, also by Samir.

The two songs from Cats - Jellicle Cats (full chorus) and Memory (Krystle) were most imaginatively staged, most enjoyable. The remaining songs, all well sung and enjoyed were Fame - from guess what - by Krystle; Point of No Return from Phantom of the Opera, most poignantly presented by Francois and Rosemary Schreiner; and Footloose by Jerryn, Cedric, Susan and Samir. The chorus, and dancers, supported all the singers in various ways and contributed considerably to the success of the excellently produced and choreographed show.

There is no doubt that a live orchestra or band contributes to the success of a show. However, the backing tracks used in this show added a fullness and richness which contributed in no small way to its success. The tracks were excellent and the Club owes a huge debt of gratitude to Carole Brown for having accessed them. Well done.

A Touch of Broadway played to packed houses. Thought should be given to having longer runs, I'm sure full houses would still be obtained. The show is worthy of a transfer to the Playhouse Loft, it's a pity they charge such exorbitant prices, and would rather have the theatre dark. – Maurice Kort




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