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Thursday, September 9, 2010


Show bristles with the wicked sharp wit of Lehrer, Sondheim and Coward. (Review by Maurice Kort)

What better way to initiate the new Stirling Theatre at the Italian Club than the reprisal of the sparkling Brutal Tunes starring the irrepressible Lisa Bobbert and the energetic Anthony Stonier which has graced various venues since its inception several years ago, including the now-defunct Royal Hotel's Backstage in 2003 and Kwasuka Theatre in 2004, as well as the Rhumbelow Theatre in 2008 and the Kearsney College Music Festival. It is no wonder that it keeps being reprised by popular demand and if you have not see it before, grab this opportunity. If you have seen it before, enjoy it as much once again.

The usual accompanist, Andrew Warburton, has been unable to do this run due to other commitments so he has been replaced by Roland Perold. He is a welcome addition to the brutal trio and brings a fresh, subdued addition to the frenetic antics of the other two.

As the title suggests, the lyrics in the numbers in Brutal Tunes bristle with the wicked sharp wit of Tom Lehrer, Stephen Sondheim and Noel Coward, among others. Lisa Bobbert and Anthony Stonier pull out all the stops with the opening Poisoning Pigeons in the Park by Tom Lehrer. Full justice is also done in his gory I Hold Your Hand in Mine and The Masochism Tango later in the show. Highlights by Lisa Bobbert include the morbid biting Irish Ballad and Noel Coward's Bar on the Piccola Marina and I've been to a Marvellous Party. She lends her own inimitable comedic style to Eartha Kitt's An Englishman Needs Time and An Old Fashioned Millionaire as well as Stephen Sondheim's Getting Married Today although the lyrics being so fast in the latter made them difficult to follow. Clearer, louder enunciation was required.

There is great rapport between the two singers, highlighted in their Master of the House from Les Miserables and Nina from Argentina as well as the clever lyrics of Noel Coward's The End of the News. Not to be outdone, Roland Perold has his moment to shine in his Lydia the Tattooed Lady in which he requests the audience's participation in the chorus. His method of warming up the audience is the most original I have heard. Anthony Stonier, being the versatile artist he is, relieves Roland Perold at the piano on occasion and he gives brilliant renditions of Gay Paree and the very funny The Gay Eskimo by Adam Sandler. Be prepared for Lisa Bobbert's outrageous outfit when she joins him to continue with this fun number. The humour also abounds in their own renditions of Let's Do It (Can't Do It) and a very South Africanised Down Town.

Caroline Smart has once again directed the music review with great attention to detail with the resulting clever, comedic, outrageous fun evening's entertainment, no doubt having to exercise considerable effort to control the ebullient Lisa Bobbert and Anthony Stonier. Considering the huge popularity of Brutal Tunes and the great talent of the team, and in this age of sequels, shouldn't they step out of their comfort zone and consider Brutal Tunes 2? There is a wealth of material available from the works of Tom Lehrer, Noel Coward and Stephen Sondheim, not to mention many other great lyricists and how about the Rosemary Clooney and Marlene Dietrich hit Too Old to Cut the Mustard which screams to be revived.

The large hall in the Italian Club has been transformed into a delightful supper theatre venue, easily accessible at 82 Fairview, Durban North, with plenty of secure parking opposite the venue. Brutal Tunes has two more performances - September 11 at 20h00 and September 12 at 19h00. Tickets R80 and there is a cash bar (but no credit card facilities) with an optional simple menu of pizza slices, beef lasagne and ham, salami and Mozzarella cheese bread roll combinations and a dessert although patrons are welcome to bring their own picnic/snacks. Bookings on 082 970 0002 or e-mail - Maurice Kort