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MOTOWN FOR EVER! (article first published : 2008-01-21)

I was so pleasantly reminded of the magic that is the music Motown at the opening of Motown For Ever! at the Catalina the other night. The show is the latest offering by multi-skilled actor, playwright and now author, Hamish Kyd and features a young and talented cast who do ample justice to the sounds of Motown.

And what sounds they are - covering the history of Motown from Tyrone King and Berry Jordy through the Four Tops, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Dianna Ross, The Jackson Five, Lionel Ritchie, Gladys Knight, The Pips and others.

Deserving of special mention are Praline Ross, Grant Jacobs, Portia Zungu (a debut performance - watch this lady) and Anthony Joseph, while taking nothing away from the others in this talented group which also includes Rory Booth, Cindy Ngidi and Hamish himself.

In addition to writing and directing, Hamish Kyd fills the role of narrator, threading together the thin storyline (this is essentially a tribute to the music and legends of Motown) that leaps from local prison cockroaches that look like motorcars ... to Motown! Kyd is a consummate comedic actor with timing and audience interaction that was enthusiastically appreciated by opening night's almost-capacity audience.

Competent set and technical design by Themi Venturas - graffiti-bedecked walls with enough stage access to accommodate the comings and goings of a largish cast - is complemented by Daisy Spencer's lighting and Pauline Baker's dazzling period costumes.

I have only two very minor issues with this production. Marise Kyd's choreography doesn't do justice to the slickness of Motown's mojo and the ensemble work just isn't in sync. Secondly, Motown certainly does go on “for ever” at just on two-and-a-half hours with a twenty minute interval. Don't be put off - this is enjoyable theatre and I'll be back for a second helping.

Motown Forever is a joint production suitable for the whole family by Storyland, Siyakhanya and theatreBiz. It runs until February 17 at Catalina Theatre on Wilson’s Wharf. Shows nightly Tuesday to Saturday at 20h00 (Sunday at 14h00 and 18h00). Tickets R75 (R45 students and pensioners). Every Tuesday and Sunday, tickets are “Two for the Price of One” – subject to availability.

For more information or to book, contact the Catalina Theatre on 031 305 6889.

Preceding the opening of Motown For Ever was the launch of Hamish Kyd's first novel, Charlie which I look forward to reading as I plough through the ever-increasing (despite my best efforts) pile of books next to my bed. - Brian Roodt




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