Cat Simoni and Eliza Doolittle


cat-black-polo-head-and-shoulders
Cat Simoni stars alongside Paul Spence in Wouldn’t It Be Luvverly.

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BY BILLY SUTER

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Twenty Questions with Howick-based singer-pianist Cat Simoni, who stars alongside Paul Spence in their latest supper show, Wouldn’t It be Luvverly, featuring songs from the hit musical My Fair Lady. Catch it at Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre, Cunningham Avenue, Umbilo (off Bartle Road) at 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday (January 22). Tickets for the show, which has been devised and directed by Spence, cost R150 each. Book at Computicket or phone 082 499 8636.

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TELL ME WHAT PEOPLE CAN EXPECT FROM ‘WOULDN’T IT BE LUVVERLY’ – AND WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEE IT?
The show encapsulates the entire My Fair Lady songbook. The much-loved favourites from Higgins, Eliza, layabout Doolittle. Everyone who was brought up with the My Fair Lady LP, Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer – not to mention the youngsters who saw the film, or the parents who bought the original album in the ’60s – will love this trip down Memory Lane. Remember the album cover, George Bernard Shaw as the puppeteer, Eliza and Higgins dancing below?

HOW OFTEN HAS THIS SHOW BEEN STAGED – WHERE AND WHEN LAST – AND WHERE TO FOR IT AFTER THE RHUMBELOW SHOWS?
The show was staged in 2016 at venues from Knysna to the Magaliesburg, KZN Midlands and Natal South Coast. Where to? Wherever it wants to go… wherever people love the genius songwriting of Lerner & Loewe.

HOW MANY SHOWS HAVE YOU DONE AT THE UMBILO RHUMBELOW?
I’ve done three completely different shows. The first was The Way We Were, the story of the young Barbra Streisand. Then I did My London Story, featuring songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Cat Rocks!, featuring songs from Pink Floyd to Amy Winehouse.

WHAT NEXT FOR YOU?
I’m booked at the Oyster Box, five nights in the Grill Room, leading up to Valentine’s Day, so it’s gonna be ‘lurve’ songs, Hollywood romance and red roses! Then I go up to the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria on February 22  for a huge Pink Floyd night with Mel Botes and his band, I will be doing vocals, some keyboards and tenor sax. Thereafter  will be at my regular venues across the country.

YOU ARE LEAVING HOWICK TO BE BASED IN THE CAPE THIS YEAR. TELL ME MORE – AND WHY
My parents and I have acquired (from a fairy godmother) a home in Constantia, and I find it impossible to say no to such an offer. Would you? I am moving lock, stock and three smoking Duracell bunnies in December this year. I have a lot of work in the Western Cape and especially in the winelands, my favourite place of course. But, my work across South Africa will continue, Musicians need to stay on the hop.

WHAT FIVE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?
As a performer: edgy, versatile, humorous, statuesque  (I was described as lighthouse once which I quite enjoyed) and unpredictable. As a person:  honest, highly strung, mercurial, loving and explosive (Italian thing, Vesuvius etc).

WHAT ARE FIVE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF (HOWEVER TRIVIAL) THAT PEOPLE ARE UNLIKELY TO KNOW?
I eat Gerbers baby food (vegetables and beef). I married a guy to give HIM a British passport. I have twins and a buy-two-get-one-free.I moved back in with my parents for some real help.I am obsessed with cats and their smell between the ears.

YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT ON STAGE?
When I was head-banging at a school disco in London, Hammersmith, and one of my fake chicken fillets flew out of my bra into the audience!

Haemmorrhaging on stage during my Ella Fitzgerald tribute show was also way up there with the best of times!
THE MOST FAMOUS PERSON YOU HAVE MET – AND WHO WOULD YOU GIVE GOLD TO MEET?
Formally met? George Benson
Informally” Paul McCartney
Who would I love to meet? Tantric Sting!
HOBBIES, PASTIMES AND FAVOURITE THINGS?
Phew I really don’t have hobbies or pastimes… music and children take up every waking moment of my time.
Favourite things? Pasta, cats, curries, steinways, theatres, my kiddy-winkles.
WHAT FIVE THINGS WOULD YOU LIST UNDER ‘VASTLY OVERRATED’?
Donald Trump. McDonalds. Star Wars. DStv. The Voice/Idols.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST SURPRISING THING SOMEONE HAS SAID OF YOU?
“You look like PJ Powers”.
WHAT TRAITS DO YOU MOST DISLIKE IN OTHERS?
Insecurity, dishonesty, arrogance, vanity, pride and jealousy.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE THREE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
My weight  (I’d like to be 10kg lighter.., no surprises there). Also, my ‘squiffy’ eyes (level would be nice). I’d also like to be more sociable, sunny and positive! But then they say most musicians/comedians/artists are a bit odd. at least I didn’t cut off my ear.
TWO HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER?
One was performing London’s Jazz Cat with & her Boys with other consummate musicians, John Fresk, Graeme Currie, Justin Holcroft and Tony Yoko, such a jol. The music is tight, the songs, sublime, the vibe and comaraderie humorous and borderline edgy.
Being flown to Cannes to perform for a private 50th birthday for the head of Barclays Capital. A beautiful mansion in the hills above Cannes, and a whole evening of requests, champagne and slow sunsets while playing on a beautiful grand piano overlooking the town.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY FIVE THINGS FROM FIVE DIFFERENT PEOPLE, WHAT AND WHO WOULD THEY BE?
Sting’s songwriting skills, Mariah Carey’s boobs, Jennifer Lopez”s butt, Trevor Noah’s wit and Kim Kardashian’s wallet.
SIX OF YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE SONGS?
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Why Should I Cry For You by Sting, Witchita Lineman by Glenn Campbell, Life on Mars by David Bowie, Comfortably Numb by Floyd and If Ever I Would Leave You from Camelot.
THE BEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER HAD? AND THE WORST?
 The bets was: “You are the most talented person I have ever seen in my life! World-class!” The worst was: “Who is that person in your profile pic?” OK, so I scrub up well but don’t do it on a daily basis for the school, run for sure.
WHAT ALTERNATIVE CAREER PATHS MIGHT YOU HAVE CONSIDERED?
Banking, purely for the money. And maybe housewife (ha, never in a million years).
WHAT IS THE MOST PAINFUL THING YOU HAVE ENDURED?
Physically? Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. When I was having IVF for my twins I got this very rare side effect early on, which happens as a result of too much Beta HCG in your system. The ovaries swell up to the size of melons and press on the nerves in your spine. It’s absolute, searing, sweating agony to the point of throwing up… not nice! Then being told they might have to abort my twins, which I worked so damn hard to get, to save my life. The things we do to get these little monsters, But they are worth it! Emotionally it would be divorce… it just sucks in every way.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Food and love, and if music be the food of love, I’ll keep playing.

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