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

IMMACULATE – THE MADONNA TRIBUTE (article first published : 2003-03-2)

Owen Lonzar is well-known for his choreography for many Sun City Extravaganzas and Janice Honeyman pantomimes. A dedicated fan of Madonna, he devised Immaculate as a tribute to the superstar. Using two soloists and four dancers along with well-edited and artistically mixed video footage, he has produced a highly visual and entertaining show. It is currently running at Lango’s’ Theatre, starring Lisa Bobbert and Colin Meiring.

I confess that I’m not familiar enough with Madonna’s work, personality or background to comment on whether this tribute is faithful to the Madonna legend. I do, however, know her performance in Evita and what has struck me from this role and the occasional times I have seen her perform on television, is an internal quietness and remoteness. Almost a place where she remains herself and doesn’t invite others in.

This characteristic the normally highly energetic and irrepressible Lisa Bobbert has managed to produce extremely well. We do catch a glimpse of the bouncing, hyperactive Lisa a couple of times but these are only fleeting moments. Otherwise, Lisa has managed to subdue Lisa and create a fine interpretation of a top class singer who has much internal control.

With blonde hair and some attractive costumes, Lisa shows that she is capable of singing a song with passion and lyricism, unlike much of the work we have seen her in lately where the accent is more on comedy than musical ability. I particularly liked Rain and Sooner or Later.

Colin Meiring is great. His experience gained over the last ten years performing on cruise ships and in the United States has certainly left its mark. We last saw him in Durban as a likeable good mover about ten years ago, singing and dancing in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He has returned – unfortunately, only briefly – a performer of much stature and presence and his Fever was a riotous hit!

Between them, Lisa and Colin produce some beautiful duets and Colin gets to prove that he is still a fine dancer.

The set is lots of fun, with wire figures packed with orange coloured cellophane and the odd feather boa is draped around the scenery. The screen is in a prominent position but the visuals do not detract from the action but rather enhance it, particularly in Human Nature.

There is a new menu on offer, although patrons may eat in the complex’s other restaurants before the show if they so wish

For starters, there’s Salade a la Mode du Chef, Fresh Melon and Parma Ham (my choice) and Duo of Jalapenos stuffed with Feta and Sweet Pepperdews. Main course options are Peri Peri or BBQ Chicken, Homemade Italian Pasta with Butternut Sauce and Feta Cheese or Grilled Linefish of the Day. I opted for the chicken but was a little alarmed to find it served as a spatchcock and it was quite a mission to cut it neatly and elegantly. In the end I gave up on cutlery and opted for fingers!

For dessert there’s Brie topped with a sweet Chilli Sauce and Fruit salad and Coconut Ice Cream.

Immaculate plays at Lango’s Theatre (Langoustine by the Sea) until April 6. Tickets R130pp including a three-course meal. Specials which include a two-course meal will be held on Tuesdays and Sundays at R100pp. Bookings through Lisa on 031 563 7324. – Caroline Smart




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