Mzansi Productions' director Dirk Badenhorst picked a tried-and-tested theme for his current production, Somebody to Love - a dance celebration to the music of Queen.
Showing at Cape Town's Artscape Theatre until 12 June, before moving on to Sibaya Casino's iZulu Theatre in Durban from 15 to 18 June, the production is simply staged without many adornments or costume changes. That means there's little to distract from the performances of the singers and dancers, as well as the backing track accompaniment.
The choreography by Debbie Rakusin in Part One was extremely challenging, well executed (especially by the boys) and well appreciated. The cast wore white and performed against a white floor, backdrop and wings, with coloured lighting to change the look of each number subtly. For Part Two, stage and cast donned a more dramatic, largely black wardrobe.
In the first half, I found the vocals by Anne-Marie Clulow, Kerry Hiles and Shaun V too loud for the backing tracks and thought the music lacked bass, causing it to sound "screechy" at times. This was vastly improved in Part Two.
I liked Hiles' rendition of Too Much Love Will Kill You, while the boys' dance ability was aptly showcased in I Want It All and Under Pressure.
The pas de deux in Who Wants To Live Forever and Somebody To Love stood out, with Clulow coming in to her own with operatic prowess in the latter, as well as in the Barcelona finale. Her voice is extremely powerful - she should take care not to take the mike too far away from her mouth and risk losing clarity on the lyrics. She was a good foil for Shaun V in Another One Bites The Dust.
This is Mzansi Productions' third tour to Cape Town and its first to Durban, as Badenhorst steadfastly continues to pursue his dream of "bringing the magic of dance to as many lives as possible". Recently under threat of closure, funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund has made it possible for Mzansi Productions to sustain employment opportunities in dance and related fields and to stage high-quality productions around the country. Badenhorst can be commended on his perseverance and professionalism. Theatre audiences will no doubt enjoy his latest offering.Ticket prices range from R60 to R155. Book at Computicket. Evening shows are at 8.15pm. There are 3pm matinees scheduled for 11 and 12 June.