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MAGICAL MOVIE MUSICALS (article first published : 2000-07-12)

In his latest show Magical Movie Musicals, itís the first time Iíve seen ebullient entertainer Colin Penn even remotely subdued. Battling with laryngitis he carried on like the true trouper he is, ably supported by long-time members of his trio: Berry Taylor on bass and Mike Cameron on drums. The stage setting features two large Oscar figures, film posters, old movie reels and several miles of film tape.

Soloists are Bronwen Forbay, immaculate both in voice and performance, with tenor Gary Carter (a former member of the now defunct Playhouse Singers) and bass John Butler from Pietermaritzburg. In the first half of the programme, the men were in checked country style shirts and Bronwen in a light print Edwardian dress. After interval, the mood changed to sophistication with the men in dinner jackets and bow ties and Bronwen in beautiful evening gowns.

For the first time, Colin has introduced dancers to his shows and Magical Movie Musicals features guest artiste Quinton Ribbonaar with dancers from Minette de Klerkís Academy of Dance who provide colourful and energetic diversions.

There appears to be no logic in the sequence of numbers and the programme jumps from musicals of the 1950ís to contemporary times and back again. Expect to hear works ranging in period and style from Ivor Novello, Nelson Eddie and Jeanette MacDonald, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin to Scott Joplin, Lerner and Loewe and Andrew Lloyd Webber!

Musicals include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Annie Get Your Gun, The Student Prince, My Fair Lady, Camelot, Porgy and Bess, Oklahoma, Show Boat, Gigi, West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof.

Notable numbers were Bronwen Forbayís Summer Time where her opening phrase sent a thrill down the spine and she was extremely moving in Ivor Novelloís My Dearest Dear. Gary Carter handled Mario Lanza numbers such as Because and Loveliest Night of the Year particularly well. John Butlerís all-too-seldom appearances in Durban are much enjoyed and I liked his handling of If I Loved You, Moon River and At the Balalaika. Together, they performed several numbers such as a stirring version of Jerusalem.

Colin Penn, Berry Taylor and Mike Cameron played several medleys of their own, with Colin shifting position from the electronic keyboard to the real piano. Again, there were no apparent links between numbers such as Tonight, On the Street where You Live, Tea for Two and the theme from A Man and a Woman. But they all seem to fit well together and were presented in Colin Pennís distinctive up-tempo foot-tapping jazz style. The only items I werenít happy with were Colinís rather strident interpretations of Send in the Clowns and Climb Every Mountain.

Magical Movie Musicals runs every night at 19h45 until Sunday (July 16) at the Courtyard Theatre, Mansfield Road. To book phone (031) 564-9305.




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