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SINATRA, DAVIS & MARTIN (article first published : 2006-09-22)

Towards the end of his performance in Sinatra, Davis & Martin, Stuart Mey sings the Frank Sinatra classic, My Way. Any member of the audience who has followed the progress of this founder member of the now disbanded popular band, Larry and the Lounge Lizards, will have felt a tug at the heartstrings as Stuart indicated the interior of his new venue with the words “I did it my way”!

From his initial shows at the Playhouse Cellar, Stuart went into partnership with other restaurateurs on the Point Waterfront to create the Dockyard Theatre at the scenic entrance to the harbour where it ran successfully for several years with Stuart eventually taking over sole ownership.

With the Point Waterfront development moving forward, the future of The Dockyard was insecure and so Stuart took the plunge and headed up the hill to Musgrave Centre where his new theatre is now located in the premises formerly occupied by Legends. It was a good move and the relocation will surely attract new audiences to swell the ranks of the Dockyard followers.

The 150-seater is designed much along the lines of the harbour Dockyard with a ground level and mezzanine floor. However, this theatre has bars on both levels which means that bar service is much quicker and waiters don’t have to race up and down stairs carrying trays of drinks!

The familiar couches are still scattered about, newly upholstered in blue which goes well with the emerald green walls and blue napery. The girder structure supporting the mezzanine area gives an evocative shipyard feel as do the bulkhead lights and the miniature hurricane lamps on the tables. Smokers can spill onto the patio outside, an area which is bound to be popular for those taking advantage of Dockyard’s early morning breakfasts (from 06h00) and late night menus for those who want to pop in for a light meal or coffee after shows or concerts.

The first production chosen for the new venue is Sinatra, Davis & Martin and the show aims to take audiences on a nostalgic trip back to the 60’s and the elegant days of The Sands in Las Vegas where they can swing to the sounds of these legendary members of “The Rat Pack”. There’s no less than a 13-piece big band on stage so there’s not a lot of space left for the three vocalists – Stuart Mey, a considerable figure in himself, his daughter Nicky Mey and Gino Veronie.

The lighting is effective and moody, the musicians highly competent and Bruce Boome and Musa Vincent Mtetwa’s arrangements work well. You can tell that Stuart Mey is thoroughly enjoying himself and he makes no bones that he’s always wanted to work with a big band. His enjoyment and pride is infectious and this goes a long way towards the show’s success.

Nicky Mey is looking stunning with a new-found assurance and slimmer figure. I enjoyed Something Stupid which she sang with her father and her languid rendition of Fever. While Gino Veronie has a good voice his stage presence is a bit awkward and he needs to relax more. Andrew Jones was enticed away from the drums to perform a splendid Miss Jones, definitely an audience favourite. Wielding the sticks in Andrew’s place for this number was young trombonist Qhawe Ngcobo, a name to watch!

Expect to hear time-honoured numbers such as Fly me to the Moon, Volare, Come Fly with Me, Mack the Knife, Kick in the Head, Chicago, Mr Bojangles, Making Whoopie and if you don’t ask for an encore, you won’t get New York New York!

Stuart Mey has wisely kept the same style of menu as before. Starters include Crumbed Mushrooms, Three Amigos (mozzarella, Camembert and Haloumi sticks) and Chicken Wingz grilled in a lemon and herb marinade served with a peri-peri dip (my choice and they were very tasty). Main course options are Grilled Sirloin Steak (my choice) with a choice of cheese, pepper or chasseur sauce; Line Fish & Calamari Combo, Chicken a la Thermidor (seasoned and crumbed breast fillets in a cheesy mustard sauce with prawns and mushrooms) and Mushroom Bake (mushrooms baked in spinach ricotta with garlic mash and cheddar cheese).

If you want an evening of great swing music created by the best and re-interpreted with respect by a strong Durban group of singers and musicians, then head for Dockyard at Musgrave Centre. Tickets for the show are R80pp plus R80pp for a two-course meal plus R20 for dessert. On Sundays tickets are R110pp for show and main course. Bookings on 031 201 9147. – Caroline Smart




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