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

GLORY DAYS (article first published : 2002-05-19)

If you enjoyed Roll Over Beethoven, then head back to the Barnard Theatre at Gateway for another production from the same creative team of Duck Chowles and Ian von Memerty.

Glory Days sets out to pay tribute to the music of the 70s and 80s. The opening of the show was rather untidy and fragmented but all was forgiven when the clear sounds of the brass players - trumpeter Michael Magner followed by saxophonist Christopher Luke - held everything rock steady.

Having just completed his run as Brad in The Rocky Horror Show at Barnyard, Andrew Webster simply changes clothes and accents to produce a similar nerdish character. Basically, Glory Days is a rock concert with a bit of dramatic humour thrown in and he is pivotal in holding the whole fairly frenetic programme together. I found the process contrived and longed to hear more of Andrew’s good singing talents (That’s What Friends are For) and less of his – admittedly amusing and engaging – 80’s nerd whose regular response was “Howzat?”

Andrew continues in the production until June 9 when his part will be taken by Paul du Toit who Durban audiences will remember from Offbeat Broadway at the Royal Hotel’s Backstage.

Percy Smith I could listen to all night, just allowing myself to relax and let his magical stage presence take over. He explodes into the action in an elegant white suit, a highly focused and watchable performer. There was an amusing sequence in That’s What Friends are For when he accompanies Andrew as Stevie Wonder.

Ramaine Barreiro has undeniable vocal power – she out-Bassey’d Shirley in Never Never, her good sense of comedy was a delight in It’s Raining Men and, move over Tina Turner, Ramaine can knock out a thundering Simply The Best.

Andy Murray is an astonishing guitarist and his passion for music after 20 years in the business certainly shows. Dawn Selby provides her usual sure touch on the keyboards while Mark Freel plays bass guitar and Alan Lloyd is on drums. Michael Magner alternates with Durban trumpeter Cathy Peacock.

Highlights for me were Karma Karma Chameleon, a Kenny G take-off from Christopher Luke (remember him from Rouge Pulp with Amra Faye?), The Greatest Love of All, I Don’t Wanna Dance, Buffalo Soldier and Special Star.

Michael Broderick’s lighting design is excellent but the sound system didn’t allow us to hear the lyrics clearly enough. The curtain call was fairly chaotic but I guess they’ve got that straight by now.

The audience of the evening was clearly undeterred by any shortcomings and responded with delight throughout the show. And seeing as how they’re the paying customers, who am I to disagree?

Tickets R65 pp from Wednesday to Saturday, with the popular "Buy One Get One Free" promotion continuing on Tuesday night and Sunday lunchtime shows. More details from The Barnyard Theatre on 031 566-3045/6 or e-mail: barngate@mweb.co.za




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