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BOOK CLUB #2 (article first published : 2001-11-8)

Back again at the Langoustine Theatre by the Sea are the irrepressible Gee Jays – Grant Bell, John Didlick and Gary McKenzie – with Liesl Coppin in their extremely successful Book Club. Only this time round, there’s a difference. Liesl Coppin’s normally svelte figure has a growing extension in the middle region as her first child starts making his/her presence felt.

Book Club asks the questions: Are all those women who go to book clubs REALLY going to book clubs or is it just an excuse for a wine-soaked evening of delicious gossip where they avidly discuss the not-so-finer points of their male counterparts?

Through Liesl Coppin, the audience meets a variety of women who are preparing for their book club night. There’s the blonde bimbo mid-cellphone conversation frantically looking for a signal who declares after each snippet of conversation - “I’m funushed!” Liesl’s sense of comedy shines in a hilarious sequence of the drunken redhead who questions the claims of the pills she’s taking and whose shoes suddenly become total strangers to her feet.

One of her finest numbers was You Needed Me which she performs as a lonely housewife before changing to a butch saxophonist and then a power-dressed and bitchy corporate sales director.

Her pregnancy has provided much scope for comedy which is utilised to the full in the show and one of the cartoon characters on Greg King’s effective set now sports a bulging tum. Ultra-fit though she is, Liesl may have to bow out of certain performances when Baby decides that show business is too tiring for a growing person. In this eventuality, Catherine Mace will take her place.

The Gee Jays have been working and singing virtually every night now since the beginning of October and there’s nothing like consistent performances to oil the voice and bring it to optimum effect. Changing jackets and waistcoats for visual effect, the guys are sounding at their best. Harmonies are tight and the interaction between them smooth and efficient, as always.

John Didlick is ever the audience favourite and he has the lion’s share of the comedy which he exploits to the full. Grant Bell is the only one who really has a body to show off in the cabaret send-up and Gary McKenzie is hilarious in Mustang Sally.

The show bounces along and the cast of four and two-thirds (because Baby’s performing too, whether he/she likes it or not!) offer an enjoyable evening’s entertainment which will be popular with the festive season crowd. Songs include Buttercup, Daydream Believer, Oh, What a Night, She’s a Man Eater, Sex Bomb, Gimme Some Loving, I’m Outta Love and I Feel Like a Woman

Tickets R120 include a three-course meal. For starters, there’s either Calamari Salad or Greek Salad. I chose the former and it was an agreeable and generous helping. The Langoustine’s succulent and famous Lambshank is always a winner but the other options are Chicken and Prawn Curry or Zucchini and Brinjal Lasagne. For dessert there’s Traditional Christmas Pudding with Custard or Homemade Apple Crumble. Booking through the Langoustine on (031) 563-7324.




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