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TRY-ON COLOUR (article first published : 2002-11-9)

Not that long after appearing in the highly successful A Coloured Place at Kwasuka Theatre with Esmerelda Bihl, the irrepressible Crystal Tryon moves to the Royal Hotel’s Backstage venue with her production Try-On Colour.

The title makes playful reference to Crystal’s family roots and her linking script is peppered with delightful anecdotes about her uncles and aunts – particularly one that was slightly inebriated at a wedding and kept forgetting the bride’s name!

Try-On Colour wanders comfortably through a well-chosen programme of songs appropriate to the subject under discussion. The script is written by Krijay Govender, well-known for her articulate and forthright approach to theatre and the direction is in the capable hands of Gareth Kenna.

From Faded Pictures and Grandma’s Hands to the more upbeat One Monkey don’t stop no show and the showstopper This is my Life, Crystal handles it all with charm and aplomb, impressing mostly in W.O.M.A.N and The Way We Were. A virtual cross-cultural continent personified in her own right, she was also seen to good advantage in the South African numbers Lakutshoni Ilanga, The Click Song and Pata Pata.

What a joy to have a hot live band on stage with not a backtrack in sight. That’s when you realise how the rhythms and phrasing reach down to the body’s core and, albeit that they are cost-effective, how soulless and inflexible backing tracks are.

On keyboards is Roland Moses, with John David on bass and Shaun Pietersen on drums. Lance Dyers is on percussion and often accompanies Crystal, his clear falsetto providing an extra “voice” to the production.

Try-On Colour is an unpretentious show, nicely dressed both in set and costume and Crystal is an engaging and endearing host who is easy on the eye. The humour ranges from gentle to raucous and she extracts as much fun as possible out of her scenarios. It’s a highly enjoyable evening out.

Tickets R130 include a three-course meal in true Royal style. For starters, there’s Avocado Mousse with a fairly strong Sundried Tomato and Olive Salsa or a pleasant herb pancake with bacon, leeks and mushrooms. Main course options are a Mild Chicken and Baby Prawn Curry (not quite mild enough for me, though, and the roti was fairly solid) or a Sirloin of Super Midlands Beef which was well received by my companions. For dessert there’s a Lemon Tart which was nicely presented with orange and kiwi fruit but which required a fairly strongly-wielded knife to cut it.

Bookings via Harshana on 031 333-6000. Subject to available space there are a limited number of show-only seats at R50.




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