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LETíS MISBEHAVE Ö AGAIN (article first published : 2001-11-9)

Letís Misbehave, presented by Carole Trench, Anthony Stonier and Evan Roberts, had its first run at the Royal Hotelís Backstage about six months ago and it was such a success that the management invited them back again for this current season.

Everything was on track until the end of September when Anthony Stonier had a near fatal accident which seriously damaged his back. Medical prognosis was alarming Ė a back brace for at least six weeks and the avoidance of the sitting position. Rather problematic for a pianist!

However, Anthony has not reached his level of professionalism by ducking responsibility and has shown much courage and determination in his decision to continue with the show. While it may very well keep his spine upright, the restrictive nature of his brace also seriously hampers the kind of breathing a singer needs to employ in a show such as this.

The rather splendid-looking and skilfully-designed brace with its stainless steel centre support and massive back strapping is not in evidence as Anthonyís elegant long-sleeved black top covers it. So itís possible that those in the audience unaware of the background story will simply observe that his movements are stiffer than normal. Otherwise, itís business as usual and his immaculate diction lends itself to numbers such as Uncle Harry and a delicious I Never Do Anything Twice, given an added twist as it is normally sung by a female. His lusty and dramatic La Cage aux Folles was a showstopper.

Carol Trench just gets better and better and there seems to be no musical style in which she doesnít shine. As in the first season, her Class is simply stunning and sheís just as good in Letís Misbehave, Santa Baby and Mrs Ballís.

Thanks to sponsorship from Musikland, the Backstage sports an extra piano along with the in-house baby grand which means that Anthony Stonier can accompany maestro and music director, the extraordinarily-talented Evan Roberts. Their amusing musical duel I Love a Piano is exhilarating and in Baby, Itís Cold Outside with Carol, Evan shows that he can be as sultry and provocative as the best of them!

The three have an excellent working and performance relationship, and the showís a good blend of their various vocal ranges. Their reworking of Letís Do It was a great favourite. This is a show in an international class and is well worth a visit.

The only sour point of the evening is the irritating clack of a faulty pedal mechanism on the Royalís piano which has now grown to intrusive proportions and tends to mar some of the quieter numbers.

Tickets include a three-course meal. For starters thereís a delicious Asparagus, Mushroom and Leek Ragout and the other option is a delicately pickled Calamari Salad. Iím a bit wary of the Royalís Ulundi Chefís Traditional Lamb Curry, itís for those who like their curry fairly hot and spicy. So I opted for the Wok-Fried Chicken Strips with Pineapple and Ginger which was most enjoyable. For dessert thereís a Royal favourite, CrŤme Caramel with Citrus Syrup. Book through the Royal Reservations on (031) 333-6000.




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