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LATINO MAGIC (article first published : 2006-10-29)

This year, producer/director Stuart Mey, has drawn upon the experience gained from previous year-end shows to present Latino Magic at the new venue at Musgrave Centre.

The show is fronted Andrew Jones and Yvette Barnard, she of the wide smile and tall rangy figure, and Gino Veronie with Stuart Mey making the occasional guest appearance. Last night, the inimitable Dave Arnold was unable to perform so his humorous contribution was delivered with much aplomb from backstage by Stuart. As he himself quipped, there was no way he could fit into Dave’s costume!

Andrew Jones is always a natural and entertaining performer and Gino Veronie was far more relaxed and comfortable with the audience that he was in the last show at Dockyard. We first saw Yvette Barnard in Stuart Mey’s Bus Stop which played The Cellar at the Playhouse (now the Zulu Jazz Lounge) in 2002. Commanding the audience’s attention, she’s come a long way since then with an acquired maturity and generosity of performance. I particularly enjoyed her handling of the instrumental breaks in the songs, sections that normally leave most singers looking fairly spare.

With 11 people on the stage - seven of them musicians - and two percussion sections, there’s not a whole lot of room! However, considering these restrictions the show is vibey and energetic with popular Latin flavoured numbers that had the audiences bopping along and waving their glittering shakers, provided courtesy of the management.

Under musical director Bruce Boome, the Dockyard showband features drummer Ian Webster, Musa Mtetwa on keyboards, guitarist David Knott, bassist Benoit Grigaut and drummer Paul Cassells. Providing the brass element so vital in Latin music were Kirsty Madgin on sax, Russell Scott and Qhawe Ngcobo on trombone. At times Andrew Jones and Musa Mtetwa headed for the bongos to prove they can do percussion as well as the rest of them. Also handling some of the vocals was Qhawe Ngcobo who was a delight. Without question a young man to watch!

My main problem last night was a major sound imbalance rendering the soloists incomprehensible but I believe this is being looked at and hopefully by now has been sorted out.

The programme includes music by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, Carlos Santana, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesius, Christina Aguliera and Jennifer Lopez.

The starter menu includes Prawn Scampi (my choice and a good one), Angels on Horseback or Fruit Kebab. Mains are Grilled Sirloin Steak, Chicken Fajitas, Mexican (vegetable) Bake and the dish I chose and enjoyed, Seafood Gumbo. Desserts and side orders are an optional extra but the dessert choices include Dockyard’s famous Chocolate Bar-One Cake, Fruit Salad & Ice Cream or Baileys Strawberries& Choc.

Audience favourites were Ain’t No Other Man, Ballamos, La Vida Loca, Volare, Mas Que Nada, She Bangs and Stuart’s Smooth

Latino Magic runs through to the New Year’s bash. It’s a good party piece for end of year gatherings. Book via Karen or Melissa on 031 201 9147. – Caroline Smart




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