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

ALL FOR LOVE (article first published : 2002-08-15)

Charl von Heyningen is a tall, light-hearted man with beautiful, elegant hands. The son of well-known radio personality Francois van Heyningen, he is a generous and sincere performer. With his engaging smile and warm nature, he is currently appearing in All for Love at the Royal Hotel’s Backstage venue.

The show runs without an interval and encompasses crooning medleys, a classical potpourri and Italian ballads. Charl is at his best in the warm and romantic Italian ballads which are well suited to his rich baritone. There were times when I had a problem with his phrasing and breathing control and he wasn’t so successful with Largo Al Factotum (Barber of Seville) and the Toreador’s song from Carmen which both lacked attack and a vocal “bite”.

However, his Habanera (Carmen) sung in French was extremely well presented. Another highlight for me was Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera. This is a number normally done to death but he introduced a nice sensitivity to it and, closing my eyes to appreciate it better, I couldn’t fault his musicality. Readers in Gauteng will remember that he appeared in Richard Loring’s A Touch of Webber and a Taste of Rice about ten years ago.

Another highlight was the soulful Winter sung in Afrikaans.

Ian von Memerty is credited as the director as well as the musical arranger. For the latter, I commend him – particularly his own compositions such as Together We Stand with its poignantly beautiful lyrics - which you will get, provided you ask for an encore! However, I do think his direction could have been more encompassing. I got the feeling that Charl von Heyningen’s talent was under-utilised and could have been presented to better advantage.

While sometimes appearing ill-at-ease with his jokey links, he has tremendous support from pianist Chris Harper who is also under-utilised. It’s evident that he has a good sense of humour and not averse to taking part in the action.

The show is unadorned and played to black curtains. Apart from the gleaming concert grand, there’s the incongruous use of two chairs – one a standard Royal functions piece and the other a rather bulky affair – and I do think the water bottle could have been replaced with a more elegant jug and glasses.

Performances of All For Love run from Wednesdays to Saturdays and offer a gentle and uncomplicated evening’s entertainment. Tickets R120 include a three-course meal with dinner served from 19h00. For starters, there’s a tangy Seafood Cocktail and a lightly flavoured Cream of Baby Marrow and Potato Soup. For main course there’s a pleasant Grilled Cape Salmon or richly flavoured Lamb Shanks prepared in a Red Wine Sauce. Blue Berry Cheesecake offers a pleasurable dessert.

Book at Computicket on 031 333-6000. – Caroline Smart




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