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

MORE THAN A FEELING (article first published : 2002-10-4)

Many years back, artistes like Tina Turner, Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson discovered the power of introducing a dramatically theatrical element into their performances and this has created an expectation from audiences who want to see their rock musicians offering a more exciting visual image.

More Than a Feeling currently running at Lango’s Theatre in Durban North needs better staging and more direction. Lango’s has a wide stage area and if all the space is used, this can present focus problems. The three guitarists and drummer - Gordon Jackson “Salty Dog”, Dave Atkinson, Gavin Muller and Steve du Plessis - are placed in the middle of the stage and, unfortunately, they don’t take advantage of their prime position to interact with the audience.

Arnie Field plays the shop owner of a second-hand music store who wants to compile the ultimate 70’s rock album. For most of the time, he is stuck at the side of the stage behind a counter laden with posters and a lot of his stage business is not obvious. Marvellous Dawn Selby, the show’s musical director, is placed at the opposite side, presumably because of the space her two keyboards occupy. Only when Arnie moves into the playing area or Dawn becomes the focused soloist, is the audience allowed to enjoy their personalities and undeniable talent and suddenly the action becomes electric.

The lighting is impressive – but then, what else does one expect from the talented Michael Broderick? There is an over-use of the smoke machines but this is probably to enhance the lighting effects.

The performers are all doing wonderful things but the production as a whole doesn’t reach its potential.

However, if you enjoy the sounds of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Uriah Heep, Cream, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Peter Frampton not to mention Boston, Toto, Santana, Status Quo, Focus, Slade or the Doobie Bros, then this kind of academic theatrical argument won’t make much difference to you. The band is excellent and pays faithful homage to the original creators of the songs!

More than a Feeling runs at the Lango’s Theatre in Durban North until October 20. Tickets Wednesday to Saturday R130 include three-course meal. Sunday lunch specials R100 (two- course meal). Non dining patrons R65 (show only).

For starters, there’s Homemade Italian Minestrone Soup, Chef’s Salad or Grilled Black Mushroom topped with Cheese Sauce, the latter I chose and enjoyed. The main courses include Beef Stroganoff which was more Hungarian Goulash than Stroganoff and Chicken Breast Cordon Bleu which was pleasant if a bit bland. The third choice is Vegetable Linguine. For Dessert there’s Italian kisses served on blocks of ice.

Book at Lango's on 031 563-7324 or at Computicket or by calling 011 340-8000. – Caroline Smart




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