A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

supper theatre
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

CONCERTO FOR 2 (article first published : 2000-07-14)

Classy, moody, intimate and sophisticated. This sums up Concerto for 2 running at the Langoustine Theatre by the Sea in Durban North until July 29. Directed by Duncan Royce (Mercury Rising, Blues Brothers, Millennium Meltdown) it features two of Durban’s most well-known musical figures Melanie Roberts and Philipp Maier.

Concerto for 2 marks the first time this husband-and-wife team have worked together in a cabaret format and it’s an interesting programme, particularly given their various talents. Melanie Roberts made Durban audiences sit up and take notice of what she was worth in a production of Little Shop of Horrors eight or so years ago. Since then, she has become a regular on the cabaret circuit, despite being away from the city for several years when she worked in Dubai and Germany. Her voice improves with age and maturity and while she normally favours her lower tones, her higher register is sounding good these days.

Philipp is an experienced classical concert pianist but has a complete command of all musical styles, having even dabbled in country and western. In his well-equipped studio, he has produced the show’s impressive backing tracks which have a full and sweeping orchestral sound. Oh, and by the way, he used to fly Boeings!

On stage, Melanie is all ebullience, bounce, chatter and verve while Philipp remains suave and unvocal. The show opens with a taped introduction by Duncan Royce in which he describes the pair (Melanie as “Chief Sequin”, among other adjectives) before the sound of an orchestra tuning up sets the mood for Philipp’s first piano piece.

Michael Broderick’s lighting design is as much a “star performer” as are Melanie and Philipp. He has used the limitations of the venue well, creating a splendid array of sequences that highlight each particular musical number. These range from a cleverly edited version of the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No.1 to The Man I Love and I Got Rhythm.

It can’t have been easy putting together a programme combining the various musical styles of these two performers and showcasing them to best ability while at the same time weaving in a story line. Mostly it works. The show is sophisticated, sincere and top class. But something’s missing. There is little interaction between the two despite the fact that the show is about their lives, how they met in Dubai, fell in love and married, their time in Germany, the birth of their daughter and their recent settling in Durban.

Changing persona without the help of any kind of costume, prop or other gimmick, Melanie turns narrator to present the life story of Melanie Roberts and Philipp Maier. But the use of the third person (“they” instead of “we”) tends to exclude the audience which, during the musical numbers, is encouraged into the couple’s performance aura.

The pair physically connect very few times during the show, which adds to a sense of detachment. Philipp says the sum total of four words during the show and they are “Feels Good” which he says twice in a spunky version of Great Balls of Fire! What outward passion he may display is concentrated on the keyboard.

Tickets at R100 include a good choice three-course meal. For starters, there’s Chicken Livers Peri Peri, Lobster Bisque (not only does it taste like lobster but you get some prawns for good measure) and Greek Salad. Normally I complain that Langoustine puts too much dressing on the salad but this time it was perfect. On the main menu is the ever-popular Lamb Shank but there’s also Chicken Curry or Vegetable Lasagne. Knowing the lamb is always good I opted for the curry for a change which was highly spicy and is about medium in terms of chilli power! For dessert, there’s Bread and Butter Pudding or Fruit Salad.

Tickets for the show alone are R60 for those who want something other than the choice menu and wish to eat à la carte in the Langoustine Restaurant proper. Owner Alan Cohen believes he is the only restaurant in Durban to have a fresh oyster “bar” fed by sea water where diners can make their own choice at R8 each from the artificial oyster “bed”.

The choice wine list offers five whites ranging from Craighall Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc or Bellingham Johannisburger (R34) to Morgenhof Sauvignon Blanc (R57). There are seven reds, ranging from Chateau Libertas (R45) to Villera Cru Monroe (R85).

Book via langos@iafrica.com or at Computicket or the Langoustine itself on (031) 563-7324.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart