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NOSTALGICALLY YOURS.... (article first published : 2003-10-25)

Melanie Roberts, Carol Trench and Evan Roberts are currently presenting their enjoyable and laid-back production Nostalgically Yours … at the Royal Hotel’s Backstage. As the title suggests, the programme incorporates music from the movies, highlights from musical theatre as well as some swing, pop and jazz numbers. These are combined with "soul" anthems from the 70's and songs from the war years.

This is the first time that Melanie and Carol have worked together on stage and their voices are well suited – Carol’s incredibly versatile range and ability (Pie Jesu and Thoroughly Modern Millie) mixes well with Melanie’s repertoire of soubrette and smoky numbers (Lili Marlene and Hello Dolly).

Add to this musical melange the incomparable Evan Roberts who keeps them firmly under control at the piano and you have a well-presented and classy show focusing on music rather than hype and loyalty to composers rather than elaborate arrangements. Minus the invariably intrusive use of backing tracks (unfortunately in this day and age this is the only way to get an affordable “big sound”), Nostalgically Yours … is a “real” and unpretentious celebration of music and lyrics. Every word can be heard and therefore no nuance is lost.

Expect to make an easy-going trip down memory lane over the past 70 years with some much-loved numbers as well as a few interesting and fascinating little-known songs.

Thanks to Colonial Trading, the set is opulent and heavily draped with deep reds and burgundy velvet as well as furniture from a byegone and elegant era. Mirrors, lamps and vases echo the theme throughout the venue.

Tickets include a three-course meal and, as usual, the Royal presents it in style. For starters, there is a nicely-balanced platter of Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables or a delicious Creamy Linefish with mushrooms and leeks in puff pastry. The main course includes Chicken Picatta which was succulent in a tomato and olive concasse served with Tagliatelle or the tasty Tender Beef Olive with brown onion gravy, potatoes and butternut. I didn’t have the Strawberry and Yoghurt Mousse as strawberries and I don’t get on very well but fellow diners pronounced it deliciously decadent!

Nostalgically Yours … runs in the Backstage Supper Theatre at the Royal Hotel until November 8. Bookings on 031 333 6000.

This is the final production in the Backstage as such but the Royal management has not yet confirmed its plans to relocate supper entertainment to another part of the hotel. Watch this space!. – Caroline Smart




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