(Sharon, Nondumiso, John, Ali & Christina)
A spectacular variety show of considerable entertainment value. (Review by Keith Millar)
To start with, let me add a couple of qualifications to the review I am about to write.
Firstly, my favourite performer in the whole world is in the show. My beautiful daughter Robyn. So, if you detect a bit of bias, I apologise in advance.
Secondly, I am unashamedly a huge fan of amateur theatre. Staged correctly, it can play an important role in unearthing and nurturing new talent, developing community spirit and offering a platform for talented local performers to express their creativity.
So if you detect bias in this regard, I offer no apologies.
As far as doing it correctly is concerned, Sharon Watters and her entire Spot Light Production team have hit the nail on the head and have created a spectacular variety show of considerable entertainment value.
The Ring 2 can be seen at the Westville Civic Centre Hall and is presented in the popular super theatre format.
As one can surmise by the title, it is set in a circus environment and features everything from daring aerial acts, graceful acrobatics and puzzling illusions, to amusing comedy acts and plenty of dazzling song and dance.
The story that links all the acts together is about Abbey (charmingly and adeptly performed by Robyn Norris), a young circus performer who, against her mother’s wishes, is determined to track down the father she has never met.
The production is a sequel to Spot Light Production’s previous circus extravaganza entitled The Ring. Not having seen this, I was concerned about being able to follow the plot, but there is an amiable, if rather melancholic, traditional white-faced clown, who acts as a narrator and keeps the story moving along nicely.
The action was played out against a glittering and colourful set with some imaginative lighting adding to the glamour. On opening night, there were a few small problems with the sound, but I am sure these will be sorted out in no time.
Highlights of the show include several very innovative ensemble song and dance numbers. The choreographer is Caeley van Doorn who certainly got the most out of her alluring dance troupe (which seems to include everyone in cast at one point or other). She is also and engaging and confident actress and made the most of her role as one of the Ring Masters.
Hard working director, Sharon Watters, showed off her circus skills on a number of occasions but most notably, dressed in shocking pink, in a net aerial act where she performs to a dramatic rendition of the Sounds of Silence, sung by Adam Fanner.
Champion Gymnast Lauren Williams charms and astounds the audience with her graceful and agile dance and gymnastics. She is a superstar who lights up the stage with her personality. She is joined in an aerial hoop act and acrobatic dance by the multi-talented Ali Dawson. Dawson also plays Abbey’s mother Emma and shows considerable acting skill while she sings like an angel.
Talking of multi talent - the extraordinary John Bell seems to be able to do every circus act there is. He juggles, does acrobatics, he is the strong man and he does a very funny comedy act on the balance bean while wearing a tutu. Then to top it all, he joins Caeley van Doorn in a beautiful balletic pas de deux to a mash-up of Adele’s Hello and Justin Beiber’s Sorry, beautifully sung by 12 year-old Christina Burrows and Robz Millar.
As amateur theatre, not all elements of the production are as strong as others, and not all the performers are equally talented. However, there are more than enough moments to make this a most enjoyable and entertaining show.
The cast and crew of this production worked extremely hard to put together this show and their passion and enjoyment while on stage is palpable. They deserve all the support they can get, both from their local community, and from further afield.
The Ring 2 runs until October 29 at the Westville Civic Centre with evening performances at 20h00 and matinee on October 29. Tickets R100 per person (half price for pensioners and children for the three matinées and on October 25). Bookings through Sharon on 082 997 0709 or e-mail email@example.com – Keith Millar