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WEST COAST CRUISING (article first published : 2005-07-5)

The latest offering by Producer Director Stuart Mey at his Dockyard Theatre is West Coast Cruising and follows his tried and trusted formula of giving his audiences what they want. The Dockyard Supper Theatre stage is transformed into "The Fault Line Bar & Grill" as the show is set in California on the West Coast of the United States, the home of the notorious San Andreas Fault Line which is the cause of many earthquakes, where the "barman" (Stuart Mey) reminisces on the many bands that established America's west coast rock musical styles. He delivers the linking patter with some mild humour in his usual inimitable style and sings most of the songs.

Compared to the last time I saw a show there I am really happy to advise that the background music was this time suitably subdued in the background, leading to a far more pleasant atmosphere during the meal. Similarly, the first half was not over-amplified and was at a most enjoyable level. Most of the songs, and all the patter, were performed by the consummate artist Stuart Mey but the show really received a huge lift when others sang, viz. Nicky Mey performing the Linda Rhonstadt hit It's so Easy to Fall in Love and a Beach Boys Medley by Nicky, Bruce Boome (who is also the Musical Director), Gerald Knott and Dave Arnold, who all performed magnificently together. They should really be given more songs to sing - it would also give Stuart a rest.

The songs featured the music of The Eagles (Take it to the Limit, Get Over It), The Doobie Brothers (Why Did the Music Die, Rockin' Blues, Without Love Where Would You be Now), America (The Horse with No Name), Bread (Baby I Want You), ZZ Top (Take Me Up, Love Range), The Beach Boys (my particular favourites) (Surfing USA, Them Ol' Cotton Fields Back Home, Barbra Anne), The Allman Brothers Band and The Mamas and the Papas (Dream a Little Dream of Me), among other songs (Guitar Man, Hotel California, Take it Easy, You can't Hide Your Lying Eyes, Meet Me in the Morning, Highway in the Sunshine, etc.).

I found the second half, unfortunately once again, far far too loud, in fact I thought Stuart and Arnold were shouting more than singing - but then, I'm no singer, so what do I know? The audience were much more subdued than the last show I saw there - were the singers and the band trying to pump up the atmosphere by increasing the volume? If so, it didn't work - and nor was it necessary as the audience were obviously enjoying the show, from start to end, including a most enjoyable and suitable encore (Hotel California), playfully elicited from the audience by Stuart!

The full cast, two of whom were founder members of the well known band Larry & The Lounge Lizards - Stuart Mey (vocals) and Gerald Knott (guitar, vocals), their children Nicky Mey (vocals) and David Knott (guitar) as well as Andy Turrell (drums, pedal steel and guitar) (who is the son of Glenn Turrell, also a founder member of The Lounge Lizards), Bruce Boome (vocals, guitar), Dave Arnold (bass, vocals), Musa Vincent Mtetwa (keyboards) and Ian Webster (drums). Further credits are David Dyer and Graham Bolt for the most effective Lighting and Sound Designs, respectively, and Stuart for the attractive set and the costumes (which weren't particularly noticeable to deserve a credit).

We were welcomed with a complimentary Tequila Sunrise Cocktail (alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions being available) and the menu comprised, for the Main Course, an option of Sunset Boulevard Sirloin (grilled sirloin slices, topped with Santa Barbara sauce); San Andreas Chicken (tender filleted breast of grilled chicken stuffed with smoked bacon and smothered with Don Henley's wicked garlic and herb cheesy sauce), or California Calamari (tender calamari rings grilled with their secret San Francisco basting or deep - not oily - fried) (each served with chips, rice or vegetables) or Golden Gate Vegetarian Stir Fried (Frisco Bay vegetables and cashew nut stir fry served on a bed of China Town Noodles) (a really generous portion). For Desserts the choice was Tiramasu (as enjoyed by patrons of Aldo's of Rodeo Drive), Ventura Highway Chocolate Brownies (a richly evil delight - my comment), or The Domyard Dockpedro (the Dockyard's own Don Pedro). Most enjoyable!

The show runs until July 30. Tickets R65 with an optional two course meal at an additional R65. To book call Melissa or Karen on 031 332 1086 or Computicket. - Maurice Kort




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