A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

supper theatre
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

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

BEHIND THE MASK (article first published : 2005-11-2)

A “coloratura with testicles” and a coloratura “with tails” is how Rory Rootenberg ironically describes himself and his partner Lana English. Dressed in elegant white tailcoats, they appear in his new show Behind the Mask which is running throughout this week at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest.

A coloratura, for the uninitiated, is a singer – invariably a soprano – who can reach notes high enough on the musical scale with the intensity that can shatter wine glasses! Their high notes could also keep a whole colony of bats in ecstasy! Rory himself has an impressive range from his rich baritone to soprano status and he presents one number in which he mischievously takes off Onse Mimi (the celebrated South African opera singer, Mimi Coertse).

Considering both Lana and Rory’s combined musical talents and capacity, audiences can be assured of a show of high musical standard and dynamics. They won’t be disappointed.

The title of Behind the Mask refers to the fact that the two singers were paired together in the South African production of Phantom of the Opera in 2004 which, although it never reached KZN, impressed audiences at the Nico Malan in Cape Town and at the State Theatre in Pretoria. Rory and Lana explain that in their show, they come out from behind the mask to do what they love doing best, which is singing beautiful songs.

I went with Johannesburg-based family members to see an afternoon performance of Phantom in Pretoria, looking forward to the fact that I would see Rory in the main role. Imagine my disappointment when this turned out to be the one show that he was unable to do because he was suffering from flu. I am happy to say that Behind the Mask has assuaged that disappointment in that I now have been able to hear him in most of the famous numbers from the musical.

Luxuriant-haired Lana English is in glorious voice - and looks pretty good, too, exchanging a Phantom-styled crinoline for figure-hugging lycra tights with latticed sides. She’s a good foil for Rory who is a tough act to follow. In solo and duet items, they sing numbers that are well-suited to their individual voices. Much humour is made from the fact that Lana once worked as a dental nurse/receptionist!

Apart from items from Phantom of the Opera the programme includes A Little More Mascara, Dentist, Barcelona, Hey, Old Friend - in which there’s a pretty nifty costume design turning the “ugly duckling” into a “swan” - and Nessun Dorma.

The show does have an interval but I think it should have been taken earlier because no sooner does the second half start than it comes to an end.

Ann Duthie is a fine and sympathetic accompanist but I would have preferred a proper piano rather than an electronic one! I also had a major problem with microphones that look as if they are some kind of intravenous-feeding hospital apparatus and a sound system that was not complimentary to the performers, to say the least.

Behind the Mask has a short run from November 1 to 6. Tickets R150 include a two-course meal (R120 Sunday lunchtime show on November 6). A separate a la carte dessert menu is also available. The menu features Smoked Salmon, Roasted Button Mushroom Salad and Sweet Potato and Dhall Soup which I chose but it was extremely bland. The main choices include a Heritage favourite, Braised Lamb Shank alongside three other dishes Murghi Badam (North Indian Chicken Curry), Lentil and Pumpkin Baboti and Seafood Creole. I chose the latter which was enjoyable and I am happy to say that the tomato-based sauce is not as concentrated as it has been.

Booking essential through The Heritage Theatre at Hillcrest Village Market on 031 765 4197. - Caroline Smart




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart