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DOO-WAH BOYS 3 (article first published : 2000-05-8)

The Langoustine Theatre by the Sea has now firmly ditched its quasi restaurant-plus-stage image and is now looking like a real theatre venue with plush burgundy drapes in the foyer and on the stage. Their latest offering is a re-run of Kevin Feather’s highly popular tribute to all-boy groups which played the venue when it first opened last year and the cast themselves are impressed with the improved facilities both front and backstage.

Clad in dazzling white suits, Percy Smith, Andrew Webster, Brandon Auret and Emmanuel Castis begin Doo-Wah Boys 3 by launching into close harmony with an age-old classic, Three Coins in a Fountain. But they don’t stay in the 40’s era for long as they have a long road to travel right through to the end of the 90’s. The tempo soon changes to At the Hop, one of the best, and they continue their melodic journey with numbers which were probably written before any of them were born! There’s some light chat between numbers but the focus is on the music, such as Sha-Boom and Why Do Fools Fall in Love.

Kevin Feather is well-known for his acute musical brilliance and some of this can be seen in a dizzying medley of Beatles hits cleverly interwoven into a scene which involves a psychiatrist. But you need to know your Beatles’ music well to appreciate it to the full.

Other memorable numbers are You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, a Beach Boys medley which has a nerdy Percy Smith doing an equally nerdy dance in California Girls and In the Jungle which evolves into a whacky send-up of a gumboot dance. However, a chaotic sequence as the “Doo-Wah Girls” was not as successful as the rest of the programme.

The second half opens with four toothy grins as the lads don white sequinned bodysuits and launch into the Osmond Brothers, closely followed by a fun send-up of the Bee Gees. When they reach the 80’s, they present a snappy version of Tainted Love backed by a coat hanger, Coke bottle and belt. To tumultuous applause and encouragement from the ladies in the audience, they stripped to G-strings for Lay Your Hands On Me, although I suspect few of said ladies noticed the actual singing.

Bringing the show right up to date was No Matter What by Boyzone andI Want it That Way by the Backstreet Boys. Ask for an encore and you’ll get Making Love out of Nothing at All and Heartache Tonight in which the rest of the cast leave the stage to Percy who looks set to improvise all night!

Gripes – doing this show for so long you would think they would have got a more professional-looking cue sheet for the audience and not one held together with packaging tape. Also the posters don’t show Percy Smith which is ironic because he is the only member of the cast to handle full solo numbers, such as a beautiful rendering of Only You and Unchained Melody. I know that re-printing of posters is expensive but it’s easy enough to stick on another face even if it is as in inset.

I’m also getting a little weary of the video screen that has become an integral part of most supper theatre shows - not of the content shown because I appreciate that the medium allows extra dimensions such as other cast members, outdoor shots or a narration covering the time needed for costume changes. What bothers me is that when it’s not in operation, the audience is forced to confront a white rectangle placed dead centre at the back of the stage where it becomes intrusive no matter how skilfully it is lit.

On the same subject, while he has updated the show since last year, I think Kevin Feather should also update his outrageously dressed narrator, “Norbett Dawson speaking from Nkososana Zuma’s Health and Hatchet Club”, and place him on view more often. There’s a certain lack of logic in the narrator only being seen at certain times and not at others.

But all said and done Doo-Wah Boys 3 which runs until June 4 is a highly enjoyable evening out presented by four charming and talented young men. They don’t look so bad, either!

Tickets are R100 which includes a three-course meal. There is a choice of four starters: Chicken Livers Peri Peri, Boston Clam Chowder, Beef Carpaccio or Roquefort Salad. We both had the chowder which certainly had a generous helping of clams. On the main menu are Roast Chicken garnished with Pineapple served with a mild curry sauce, Kingklip topped with a seafood sauce or Penne Napoli, Italian homemade pasta served with Napoli Sauce. We chose chicken and Kingklip which were both very tasty and enjoyable although somewhat overwhelmed by the sauces. For dessert, there’s Apple Strudel or Ice Cream. The wine list is comprehensive, ranging from a Craighall Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc or Bellingham Johannisberger at R34 to a La Motte Shiraz at R80.

On Tuesdays it’s “Ladies Nights” with tickets at R69 for the show and a two course meal (guys are also welcome). Book through the Langoustine on (031) 563 7324 (ask for Lisa) or via Computicket. Save booking costs and book directly on the Internet at http://www.computicket.com




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