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24 HRS ON BROADWAY (article first published : 2008-05-1)

For an extremely enjoyable evening's entertainment you can do no better than attend 24 Hrs on Broadway conceived and conceptualised by Dean and Janine Bennewith and performed by a most talented cast with boundless energy and most accomplished singing and dancing.

All the stops have been pulled out to render the Kwasuka Theatre almost unrecognisable by director and set designer Dean Bennewith and choreographer and costume designer Jeanine Bennewith. Full use is made of a large screen at the back of the stage for the opening billboard and the arrival of Ken Lawson (Darren King) in New York by plane for an audition, with appropriate voice over by Tim Wells. This screen is kept occupied throughout with shots of the Big Apple and suitable visuals to illustrate Broadway and the songs of the shows performed there, including a most imaginative and superbly performed shadow dancing number.

Songs have been chosen from all the big Broadway hits, including Hair, Chicago (several songs in a brief compilation with superb choreography), Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Les Misèrables, Gypsy, Hair, A Chorus Line, Song and Dance and The Pyjama Game.

From the rousing opening number, predictably New York, New York, sung by Darren King accompanied by the dancers, the action doesn't flag for a moment for the rest of the show. The vocal ability of Darren King and Kerry Wood and the energetic perfect timing dancing of them and the four dancers Janine Bennewith, Londiwe Dhlomo, Maxine Muir and Vusi Thabethe make the evening one of non-stop entertainment.

I'm Gonna Wash that Man right out of my Hair is performed most imaginatively with showers of running water being projected on the screen. Big Spender and Mein Herr display the same polished dancing accompanying the singers. Darren King gives real feeling to Empty Chairs and Empty Tables and the dancers also display their vocal ability in the amusing rendition of You Gotta Have a Gimmick when they join Karen Wood.

Darren King renders I Got Hair to a video projection of a sequence from the film of that title (Darren King letting his hair down from his ponytail would have been an appropriate touch) and his dancing ability came to the fore in I Can Do That. Karen Wood performs The Last Man in My Life superbly and the action heats up (no pun intended) once again with Steam Heat.

You're the Top is a delightful duet by Karen Wood and Daren King. There is never a dull moment in the show which continues with Putting on the Ritz - with a suitable back projection. The show is more than just a tribute to Broadway shows; a great deal of thought has been put into the choreography which accompanies the songs which are done to backing tracks. The Last Night of the World by Karen Wood and Swing, Swing, Swing in which the infinite energy and magnificent singing continue before the grand finale which must be seen to be believed and is most befitting this top class show. Another very nice touch is the video projection of the cast and production credits on the big screen at the end of the show and the exit music, giving the true Broadway feel.

Much credit is due to producers (The Eeny Meeny Miny Mo Entertainment Company), music director (Colin Peddie), lighting designer and operator (Jason Lowe and Bevan Kenny, respectively), the audiovisuals (LA Edit) and the photography (Studio Max, Morningside).

Don't miss the opportunity to see this superb show at the Kwasuka Theatre which runs from May 1 to 18 running from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h30 (Sundays at 15h00) with special lunch-time shows at 12h45 and a Wednesday matinee at 14h00. Tickets R90 (R75 for pensioners, students and scholars). Various other discounts available.

Enquiries and bookings on 031 202 8928. – Maurice Kort




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