Delicious, delightful, ‘D’Loverley’

Melvin Peters on piano with vocalist Helene Joseph, bassist Logan Byrne and drummer Devon Hore. A moment from D’Loverley.

…………………………….…………………………………………………………………………….
STAGE: D’Loverley – Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel, Beryldene Road, Kloof
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

A BIT of a late inclusion on the Rhumbelow Theatre programme schedule, resulting in a disappointingly small house at last night’s opening performance, the delicious and delightful D’Loverley is a jazzy salute to the classic melodies of Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and others. And it is so well worth spreading the word about.

Note that the final performance is scheduled for this Kloof venue at 8pm today (Saturday, March 14) and 1.45pm tomorrow (Sunday, March 15). Do try to be there!

Elegant and sophisticated, yet very relaxed and unpretentious, the production is a showcase for the abundant talents of versatile and ever-humble Durban pianist Melvin Peters – who celebrated his birthday yesterday, leading to the audience singing Happy Birthday to him last night.

The show also stars a powerhouse jazz singer in seasoned vocalist Helene Joseph, who, some may recall, made her professional debut at Durban’s Playhouse in Geoffrey Sutherland’s Midnight Blue in the early 1980s. The petite dynamo has gone on to perform in shows and cabarets everywhere and, since 2015, has been spending eight months of each year singing on cruise ships that have taken her to the US, Australia and Asia.

Marking Joseph’s first performance with pianist Peters in 17 years, D’Loverley has the polished pair backed by excellent, animated Logan Byrne, on upright bass, and impressive young drummer David Hore, both associated with the colourful Beat-Route and other Durban jazz bands.

Helene Jospeh in D’Loverley. at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof.

On a stage well lit, with a penchant for a smokey vibe, by Barry Meehan, and with exemplary sound design by Andre Norden, the team offers a low-fuss delivery of wonderful music, kicking off with a lively jazz instrumental that has each musician taking a solo spotlight.

Joseph, all ashimmer in silver, then arrives to perform the evergreen Night and Day, captivating with her belter voice and repertoire of ‘jazzisms’ that include foot stomps, finger clicks, dramatic hand movements, and a belter voice that often requires no microphone.

Showing a shapely leg and a penchant for killer stilettos and chandelier-like earrings, Joseph is the perfect foil for the more subdued Peters. She oozes charm and charisma, flashes a smile with as much sparkle as her glittery stage attire, and serves more bubble and joy than a magnum of champagne.

All the old Cole and other classics are given the jazzy treatment here, often with Peters, seated at a black baby grand, taking a mid-song solo to provide inventive flourishes at the keyboards.

Among numbers performed are Begin the Beguine, I Only Have Eyes For You, On Green Dolphin Street, Just One of Those Things and the ebullient What a  Little Moonlight Can Do. Also featured, and my favourites from Joseph, are I Get a Kick Out of You, A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square, My Funny Valentine, Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man and a soothing, yet playful, rendition of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.

The show’s other highlights are Peters’s elegant melding of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and, with Joseph on vocals, Our Love is Here to Stay; and a truly beguiling delivery of I Love Paris that has a soft, bossa-novel feel and sees Byrne using a bow on his upright bass while Hore provides gentle, soft percussion highlighting a series of cymbal trembles. Very nice!

I also enjoyed the leisurely paced Love For Sale and Peters’s deft melding, in a quasi-classical style, of  Beethoven and Jerome Kern (All the Things You Are, which Peters rates as his all-time favourite song).

Tickets for D’Loverley cost R160 (R140 for pensioners). Book at Computicket or phone Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.

Seating is at tables of eight and drinks are available at the venue’s pub. No food is permitted as the hotel offers a restaurant.

Melvin Peters and Helene Joseph in D’Loverley, their jazzy salute to the music of Cole Porter and others

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s