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Friday, July 26, 2013


(Liesl Coppin, Samantha Sandler, Marion Loudon and Nadine Oberholtser with Lyle Buxton)

Running at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest is Shaken Not Stirred, a musical spoof on James Bond produced by Gary McKenzie and directed by Charon Williams-Ros who was also the musical director and handled set design.

The opening was very impressive: Stylishly turned-out, Lyle Buxton recreated the time-honoured opening to all the Bond movies and this was followed by silhouettes of lithe female bodies swaying to the music … and having a little fun with a choice of weapons!

Then come the glamour girls: Marion Loudon as Miss Moneypenny, with Samantha Sandler taking the role of Q and Liesl Coppin as Bond’s arch-enemy Blofeld. After their initial introduction as these characters, they go on to provide the glitz and glamour of the show as vocalists and dancers alongside the willowy Nadine Oberholtser with choreography by Daisy Spencer.

All the while, a grumbling figure in overalls has been moving set furniture around, generally complaining about his lot and trying to muscle in on the act. This is Caspir (Rory Booth) who M (voiced by Williams-Ros) takes pity on and makes him a spy. Caspir desperately wants a number, like 007, so he gets one … Double O Zero!

Buxton’s more restrained sophistication and Booth’s madcap approach make for an amusing mix – their Secret Agent Man was a delight as was their laid-back Feelin’ Good. Booth impresses once again with his versatility – less than a month ago, he was appearing in Can You Feel It? as the evil King.

My main problem is the structure and logic of the concept. It’s an interesting one – that of James Bond having a sidekick who can supply much of the humour. However, it tends to confuse the focus. While Buxton is undeniably good at BublĂ© numbers, it seems illogical to include these songs when every Bond movie has produced theme tunes that have gone on to break the charts. I would like to suggest a further development of the show and give Buxton his own BublĂ© show sometime in the future.

Having said that, each number in Shaken Not Stirred is a winner and the cast do justice to the excellent quality of the lyrics, phrasing and musicality. I would have liked to have seen Diamonds Are Forever, which Coppin delivered so well, sung completely still in a single spotlight, but that’s just me!

Other highlights were Buxton’s A Foggy Day; Booth’s Shebang and Loudon’s powerful rendition of Skyfall, the latest Bond hit.

Shaken Not Stirred runs at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest until August 4. Tickets R195 Wednesday to Saturday (R165 Tuesday dinner and Sunday lunch) include a two-course meal.

My partner opted for the Heritage Chicken Salad starter which she enjoyed and she was happy to have been persuaded to change her original main course option to the Braised Pork Neck Steaks which she found delicious. Despite my nervousness that it might be too hot for my taste buds, I chose Portuguese Calamari which was very pleasant as was my main choice of Baked Baby Chicken. Other options are Soup of the Day and a Veggie Stack (both for vegetarians) and Sea Catch (Oven Baked Hake Fillet). Desserts are an optional extra

Early booking is advised on 031 765 4197 or at– Caroline Smart

NB: If you are travelling to Hillcrest from Durban, please be aware that there are roadworks en route. Added to this, a good section of the road has been re-tarred and there are no markings (white lines, exit indications, etc) except for cats’ eyes in some places. This hopefully will be sorted shortly but in the meantime, travel with caution at night.