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

HANDFUL OF KEYS (article first published : 2003-08-22)

In 1994 a two piano revue called A Handful of Keys opened in a 160-seat theatre in Johannesburg. It had an advance of booking of 94 seats and was due to play a five week season. After all, how much could two men do with two pianos?

The first season sold out within ten days and three years later, it closed to full houses in a 1,000-seat theatre, having played to more than 120,000 people in over 350 performances. It had won nine theatre awards nationally and attracted the kind of critical and public reaction that producers dream of.

In 2001 it was revived for a short season of benefit concerts and attracted the identical response rave reviews from the critics and standing ovations. Now, having played to more than 150,000 people, Ian von Memerty and Roelof Colyn bring their creative genius to The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway from September 9 to October 5.

Musical tribute is paid to the likes of Vonda Shepard, Roberta Flack, Carole King and Nina Simone while men are recognised through the music of Billy Joel, Richard Clayderman, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, Liberace and Elton John. A real crowd-pleaser is History of Musicals where 91 years are spanned in an unbelievable 11 minutes.

No-one can define why a show has box-office magic but everyone knows it when they see it. Deceptively simple, this show cannot be called a revue, a concert, a cabaret, a tribute, or a send-up because it is all of those things. A scrap book full of similar critiques, a string of awards, months of house-full notices wherever it played on its national tour - this is a box office show.

Tickets R70 per person with Buy One Get One Free promotions running on Tuesday night and Sunday matinee shows. Booking and enquiries through The Barnyard Theatre on 031 566 3045, e-mail: barngate@mweb.co.za or visit www.barnyardtheatre.co.za




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