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BAUBLES, BANGLES AND BEADS (article first published : 2002-11-2)

Last night The Playhouse Cellar went back in time. Normally a retrogressive step but this was a welcome one. Back to a time when the venue hosted glitzy, sophisticated revue and cabaret fare with a bit of dance and fun included for good measure.

Set to run over the festive season and a suitable choice by the Cellar’s management - although there’s not a Christmas song in sight - Baubles, Bangles and Beads is bound to be a popular production for theatregoers. It is co-produced by Very Very Big Productions and Talking Point. The former is the team responsible for the award-winning It's not where I start, the multi-FNB Vita Award winning Drinks on Me and the innovative Strapless.

Melanie Roberts was the featured performer last night but from now on she will share the spotlight with Liesl Coppin who is currently appearing in Rock Me Amadeus at The Barnyard. Melanie has also taken on a new look for this show. Soignée, elegantly dressed in classic gowns by Amanda Laird-Cherry and a new slicked back stylish hairdo, she takes full command of the stage and her strong presence and musical ability contributes much to the show’s entertainment value.

Evan Roberts, the other featured performer and co-musical director with Philipp Maier, is always an unrivalled joy to listen to. However, having seen proof in previous shows that he is a comfortable mover and has good acting ability, I was a little disappointed that he remained at the piano all night.

The show is directed by Mark Hawkins and choreographed by Ebrahim Medell who also appears with dancers Angela Lardant, Quinton Ribbonaar, Vusi Thabethe and Louise Fraquet.

I enjoyed Me and My Shadow, Mack the Knife and If Tomorrow Never Comes. Also I’ve Got You under my Skin was very easy on the ear. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, a right royal send-up of the Andrews Sisters, was an audience favourite with Ebbie Medell wearing the shortest skirt in the business! There is a spunky Abba sequence and the Elephant Love Medley from Moulin Rouge received a tremendous response.

The Cellar is unrecognisable, having been transformed into a magical area lit by strands of tiny lights, A white curtain hides the stage which, when opened, reveals glittering curtains adorned with sparkling mirror balls and crystal hangings.

Baubles, Bangles and Beads runs until December 31 and tickets at R120 include a three-course dinner. The menu has been chosen with the festive season in mind, with starters ranging from a hearty Roast Cherry Tomato Soup, a delicious light Roast Breast of Turkey on lettuce and a Large Brown Mushroom topped with creamed spinach and blue cheese, pronounced enjoyable by our companion. For main course, there’s a Whole Fillet of Beef rubbed with crushed peppercorns, but don’t expect a whole fillet because it’s actually a couple of slices. My husband said the Grilled Line Fish was excellent and I enjoyed the Deboned Quail filled with chicken mousseline and porcini mushrooms. There is a vegetarian option which changes daily. For desserts, there’s Apple Crumble, Black Forest Trifle and Mock Ivory Chocolate & Egg Nog Mousse.

Book through Playhouse Box Office on 031 369-9444. Corporate enquiries, block bookings or sold performances through Pat on 031 369-9505.




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