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Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Imaginative, slick musical featuring good singing and dancing, magnificent artistic sets and very colourful costumes by Westville Theatre Club. (Review by Maurice Kort)

The Westville Theatre Club once again brings a most enjoyable evening's entertainment in the hands of the experienced director Jill Sysum who can always be relied upon to produce delightful sets. The latest offering exploits the world of lovely vampires, and lovely they indeed are, ghostly sprites and funky zombies as well as a haunted house where the cast can appear in all manner of costumes. To accomplish this, the first act is set in a forgotten graveyard in a haunted wood in Sylvania. This is one of the best sets they have made, designed by Jill Sysum and built by the Club members who also assisted with the decor. The set has incorporated appropriate grave stones with suitable changes and novel surprises.

Ghostly spirits (dancers Chantal Saunders, Pragashnie Naidoo, Mandy Steyn and Tessa Louw) float in and out of the set during the overture Bella's Lullaby setting the tone for the evening. The first number Closer than Close features the three main singers of the production, Gareth Moerdyk, Greg Lee and Tyron Cathey as well as backing singers and the full chorus. The full cast of 24 includes several singers who perform in solos or in combinations and each has a chance to shine. It is very much an ensemble production though with several numbers including the full chorus or only some of the cast as backers or dancers. Much imagination has gone into the costumes with Lynda Hoddinott pulling out all the stops for the wonderful costumes with wedding dresses featuring very prominently.

Particularly enjoyable were Love Song for a Vampire and Big Girls Don't Cry (Sarah Louise Joubert), Wild Horses (Lyle Henderson), You Spin Me Round (Angus Baumgardt), Sweet about Me (Jill Sysum) and the stunning Bad Habits (Jacquie Van Belkum and Eddy Mashishi).

There is a complete change of set for the second act which is set in a haunted house on the outskirts of the wood in Sylvania. Once again there is a great set and a chandelier that any home would be proud to possess. Befitting the haunted nature of the set, all manner of costumes and characters patrol the premises during the opening Welcome to My Nightmare (Tyron Cathey). Several set innovations contribute to the great entertainment which extends to the imaginative choreography (Coney Bundock, Chantal Saunders, Pragashnie Naidoo and Rachel Power) which is very amusing at times and well executed.

Also featured in the 33 songs in the show were the very camp Sorrow (Gareth Moerdyk), Full Moon (Greg Lee), the resounding first act finale Vampires are Alive (Greg Lee and Laura Lee), Every Time We Touch (Tessa Louw), Fun House (Taryn Bowker), Total Eclipse (Nicole Hoskins), Scared (Tyron Cathey) and the haunting show finale Music of the Night by the full chorus in yet further most appropriate costume changes.

There is no story in Notes Nocturnal, the show depicts what the title says, notes in the form of songs, set in the ghoulish graveyard and haunted house and the move from one number to the next was generally quick despite some changes in props being required. Linking music was suitably provided by the band where necessary. A live band always contributes so much to a show and the artists involved were Heather Dix (piano and musical director), Devin Moller (keyboard), Hylton Blignaut (bass guitar), Pete Misslebrook (guitar), John Owen Ellis (violin) and John Divine (drums). Ivor Bundock deserves credit for his lighting design as well as Kevin Hillier and Steve Joubert for the sound.

Notes Nocturnal runs at the Westville Civic Centre until September 11 at 20h00. Booking is at Haircraft (closed on Monday) on 031 266 5239. There is a well-stocked bar but bring your own snacks. You can be assured of an exciting evening's entertainment.