Scrapbook: Playhouse Cellar

 

Scrapbook memories… every now and then I dip into scrapbooks that piled up during my 24 years as Arts Editor of The Mercury newspaper in Durban and, just for fun, dig out reviews and interviews from yesteryear. Today we go back nearly 16 years, to May and August 2001.

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BY BILLY SUTER

Scrapbook memories today hark back to two of my reviews of supper theatre at Durban’s much-missed Playhouse Cellar, the article above being my review of a successful Cliff Richard tribute show, simply titled Cliff.

Featuring 28 of the Peter Pan of pop’s hits performed by vocalists Neels Boshoff, Stephan Marneweck, Brian Kenneth and Derick von Biljon, the show, directed by Peter Court and with musical direction by Dawn Selby, was reviewed in The Mercury on May 10, 2001.

I commented that, while enjoyable and a huge crowd-pleaser, it was “a little soulless and rather repetitive”, adding that it was “too dancey-dancey at times, the choreography sometimes finicky to the point that the cast looks awkward and self-conscious”. LOL.

Choreographed by Carol Chamberlain, the show was set against a backdrop of silver sheets of industrial metal and blue scaffolding, between which were scattered TV sets and a larger central screen. It featured video animation by De Wet Wraight and video footage by Marc Wells.

Speaking of Det Wet Wraight, he was the star of Swoon, my review of which appears below and featured in The Mercury on August 7, 2001.

The charming star of three previous Playhouse Cellar successes – Elvis, Elton and ShowOff – presented an outpouring of songs and send-up swirling around the theme of heart-throbs and other icons of the recording world.

De Wet used backing tracks but was also accompanied by Dawn Selby on piano, in a show lit and directed by Peter Court. It unfurled on a set featuring glossy red fabric in a half-circle around large polystyrene-and-glitter letters spelling the show title.

My review noted that The Playhouse Cellar had then acquired a new chef in Mark Waterworth, formerly of Durban restaurants Trioz and Café 99.

 


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