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BELLY LAUGHS (article first published : 2002-08-10)

Suffering from asthma can cause a huge problem with continuous laughter and that is exactly what Belly Laughs at Langos' Theatre did to me! Yet, laughter happens to be a good breathing exercise and can cure a heavy attack within minutes.

With the “sperm” opening sequences on two TV monitors on both sides of the stage a “conception” between audience and artist is immediately anticipated. The audio visuals by De Wet Wraight at various intervals throughout the show sets a beautiful mood for an evening of fun and enjoyment and maintains a complementary asset to the end The delightfully funny cartoons by Greg King were spot on and allowed the camaraderie process to extend to the full.

Lisa Bobbert’s costume designs made possible by Shanti Naidoo wrapped the delivery process as any good “nurse” should. Coupled with an exciting set by Josef van Schalkwyk with huge kiddie building blocks scattered around the “delivery room” and imaginatively lit by Mark Kleinert’s design and implemented by Michael Broderick - the company ensured a professional production to go all the way to the top. Michael McIlroy assisted by Bianca illuminated the performance highlights with their follow spot which needs special mention as it was subtle, disciplined and properly used, thereby complimenting rather than distracting as often happens in many productions.

Need I comment on the performers? We know them, we love them we adore them and if you have never seen them you certainly have missed out on great talent and enormous fun. Every soul wandering its life journey needs to be entertained by performers the likes of Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert or the journey would just not be complete.

If you have seen Belly Laughs before – do yourself a favour and see the latest, even fresher and more entertaining, show. It is sheer enjoyment professionally served.

McIlroy and Bobbert do it again with Boom Boom Boom, Islands in the Stream and other songs. You will tip tap with your toes for starters and be urged to kick a leg or two within minutes as these two performers charge your batteries to go on and on. Their energy simply mesmerises their audience into a hypnotic state of bliss.

Tim Pullen’s musical direction illuminates the talent of the couple to high extremes and whether it is their duos Shackles or From This Moment On you know you are privileged to share in the harmonious talent of a very synergetic bonding between two people on stage.

My editor only allows me limited words and I have not even touched on the brilliant binding text that had the audience in stitches. To do justice to this production I will refrain from any further comment as it simply must be seen to be truly experienced.

Lango’s Theatre throws in an enjoyable three-course meal to add to the enjoyment of the performance. As starters the taste buds are well tickled with a choice of a Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup flavoured with Gin (which I just had to try and found it to have an interesting tang), a Chicken Satay topped with Peanut Sauce or a Chef’s Salad.

Main Course offers a fairly sweet-tasting Apricot Chicken, Beef Stroganoff or Charcoal Grilled Vegetables on Cous Cous. I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken but there were mild complaints at the table from those who chose the Stroganoff about the lack of tenderness of the meat. Italian Kisses were served for dessert. Good value for money all round, but it would have been better if the tables were cleared before the start of the show.

Belly Laughs runs at Lango’s Theatre until September 16. Tickets R120 include the meal chosen from the theatre menu. Patrons can also order from either the Lan Thai or the Langoustine menus in which case the cost for the show only is R65. A clever move from Lango’s is the introduction of luncheon performances on Sundays. Tickets R100 and a different menu is offered.

Book through Lisa at Lango’s on 031 563-7324. Be warned, get your tickets without delay. Believe me, you do not want to miss Belly Laughs. – Thomie Holtzhausen




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