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

FOREVER YOUNG (article first published : 2004-02-21)

The latest show at the Barnyard Theatre at Gateway is Forever Young, a musical compilation show dedicated to musicians and singers who remain etched in memory because of the mark they made on both the musical world and the general public.

Heading the cast list is Brandon Isidingo Auret who makes a dramatic two-wheeled entrance (thanks to Harley Davidson Durban) and injects a considerable dose of energy into the production. Playing the part of a music fan called Joe King (geddit?), complete with mid-American accent, he bewails the passing of legendary names such as Glen Miller, Buddy Holly, John Lennon, Jim Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury, Michael Hutchence, and Jim Morrison. “What were they thinking?” he asks in despair as he recounts the various fates met by each star, leaving the world poorer for their passing but richer by the legend of their music.

The show also features Brandon’s fiancée, the willowy and extremely versatile Lee Heckrath who particularly impressed with gutsy Janis Joplin numbers Mercedes Benz and Route 66 as well as a sultry Fever. There was an all too brief and unexpected moment when Lee and Brandon entered into an adagio number which would have benefited from a stronger introduction and closing sequence.

Cedric Vandenschrik was at his best in Time in a Bottle which was a beautifully-lit scene featuring guitarists Barry Thomson and Joe van der Linden. He also did good justice to John Lennon’s Imagine as well as Jim Morrison’s The End and Break on Through.

A welcome new face at Gateway’s Barnyard, Hendrik Mochudi was seen to best advantage in Shake, Rattle & Roll and When a Man Loves a Woman.

Barry Thomson who is co-musical director with Calli Thomson (on keyboards) won the audience with Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe and Fire as well as Michael Hutchence’s Never Tear Us Apart. Completing the backing combo is Matthew Boon on saxophone and Malli Sewell on drums.

Although the start of the show is a bit disjointed and it takes time to settle down, by the end of the evening, the audience were dancing on their feet and clamouring for more. Not all the numbers were successful with performers handling numbers not suited to their styles or their voices.

As always. Michael Broderick’s lighting is dramatic and exciting. The set is attractive and lends itself well to the production with its corrugated iron and bricked porch set next to graffiti-covered doors above which is a mural featuring images of the stars. The bright red telephone booth only attracted focus for a short time and seemed an incongruous set item.

Tonight we enjoyed a platter by Gateway’s Brickcellar Grille House. While the marinated spare ribs, chicken in batter and fish kebabs were delicious, cold pumpkin and squash is definitely a acquired taste!

Forever Young runs at Barnyard Theatre at Gateway until March 28. Tickets R80 per person with Buy One Get One Free promotions on all 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 – Caroline Smart




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