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Thursday, May 16, 2013


(Cat Simoni)

Warm, witty and intimate style of presentation from talented singer and pianist. (Review by Keith Millar)

In some ways, Cat Simoni’s solo show recently presented at Seabrooke’s Theatre is reminiscent of a “Best Of…” or “Greatest Hits” selection as she performs many of the showstoppers from the great West End and Broadway musicals. Particularly those of the legendary Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Not that this is a problem as Cat is a talented singer and does great justice to this memorable music.

Her show includes songs from My Fair Lady, Cabaret, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, The King and I, Chicago, The Wizard of Oz, Cats, Les Misérables and Jesus Christ Superstar. She also performs an eclectic mix of other songs which included everything from Knees Up Mother Brown to Elton John’s Crocodile Rock.

However, she saved the best for last with her encore which was Freddy Mercury’s Bohemian Rhapsody. It was a stirring interpretation of the best pop song of all time and suggested that Cat has a lot more to offer beyond singing the show blockbusters. 

While backtracks were used for some of the songs, I much preferred it when she accompanied herself on the piano. She is a very accomplished pianist and her playing complimented the cabaret feeling of her show. In fact, her style is evocative of the fine cabaret performers who graced Durban’s colonial style 5-star hotels, such as the Beverley Hills and The Edward, many years ago.

Cat is a Westville girl who enjoyed a 10 year career in England performing for the rich and famous, and sometimes even for the infamous, at London’s best 5-star hotels and exclusive clubs. The weird and wonderful experiences she enjoyed during this time form part of her show as she relates these, and well as other aspects of her life story, with charm and self-deprecating humour.

Alone on the stage at the Durban High School’s Seabrooke’s Theatre, and using the occasional feather boa, scarf or hat to illustrate her story telling, she shows a warm, witty and intimate style of presentation.

However, I could not help thinking that a theatre was not an ideal venue for this show of this type. I would much prefer to see her at a more informal supper/cabaret type venue. That would also assist her in her interaction with the audience which I felt fell a little flat.

Cat has moved back to the country of her birth and has settled in the Midlands. Her solo show From West End to Broadway and Beyond is the first step in the re-launch of her musical career. Assisting her is her writer and producer, actor Paul Spence. He also joined her on stage for two numbers.

Overall, I think Cat Simoni has a lot to offer the entertainment industry in Durban and will watch with interest how her new career develops. – Keith Millar