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“G” STRING (article first published : 2003-10-22)

The Barnyard Theatre has got a winner for its end-of-year production with ”G” String, described as a “sultry celebration of the passion of music” with a strong female cast, ably supported by two brave male souls – Joe van der Linden on guitar and Alan Lloyd on drums.

Devised by Duck Chowles, it’s certainly one of the better productions from this Gateway supper theatre venue. With Ian von Memerty’s tidy direction and Michael Broderick’s spectacular lighting (although the performers themselves could have done with a bit more light), the show runs on an elegant set in the highly capable hands of musical director Dawn Selby.

The opening is moody and dramatic with the unmistakable voice of Barry Meehan (Brian Squires – remember Springbok Radio?) as voice-over/narrator explaining the “legend” of how the “G” note came into being in days of yore when a monk discovered the pleasure of its sound!

The impressive lead vocalists are Mandisa Bardill, Kerry Hiles and Angela Dodds. Angela is well-known to Durban audiences and she gave an interesting rendering of Like a Virgin. Kerry Hiles is the one with the dramatic talent but it was Mandisa Bardill who took the honours with her rendering of numbers such as My Baby Cares For Me and Desperado.

Then there are two ladies with highly exotic names. Endija Rezgale-Strydom sent the audience into transports of delight as they experienced the realm of the coloratura soprano with numbers like Queen of the Night and Elena Zlatkova-Purchase who plays a mean fiddle.

Completing the sexy and good-looking line-up is Jenni Wilkins on bass guitar and Judy Brown on saxophone.

The ladies present a wide-ranging programme that includes opera, classical, rock and pop, featuring numbers from The Andrews Sisters through to The Eagles and Madonna. And they prove that they can handle anything sung by a man – Mandisa shone particularly with the Elvis number Heartbreak Hotel.

However, dear gentlemen – you need not fear that this is a feminist banner-waving production and you will feel excluded. Rather, ”G” String celebrates the joy of womanhood for all to share and the cast is very easy on the eye. Also, the narrator is always on your side!

Tracy Davidson and Gareth Kenna are responsible for the costume designs which are pleasing. I particularly liked the Country & Western theme and Endija’s ballgowns were attractively elegant. I did have a problem with the wrap-around skirts - or rather with the choreography the girls were required to do in them – which made for some rather unattractive movement.

But this is a mere quibble – the show is most enjoyable and perfect for Christmas or year-end parties.

”G” String” runs until January 25. Tickets R80 (Buy One Get One Free promotion on Tuesday night and Sunday matinee). Booking and enquiries via The Barnyard Theatre on 031 566-3045, e-mail barngate@mweb.co.za or visit www.barnyardtheatre.co.za – Caroline Smart




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