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Wednesday, February 4, 2015


(Daisy Spencer & Rory Booth)

Engaging and interesting production based on a valid concept. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The P.A.R.C (no auditions required) is a musical comedy conceived and written by well-known Durban theatre personalities Daisy Spencer and Rory Booth. It’s an interesting concept and a very valid one – dealing with a wannabe artist’s need for self evaluation.

It’s also an engaging and amusing production interspersed with musical numbers, based on the devastating effect that failure at auditions can have on naive and inexperienced performers who have a skewed view of their abilities.

P.A.R.C. stands for Performing Arts Rehabilitation Centre and it is here that we meet Melody (Daisy Spencer), a strongly individualistic performer who is passionate about a stage career in musicals. One slight problem. She can’t sing. Well, she does sing – but any relationship to true pitch is completely coincidental.

Her mother sends her to PARC to see if they can help her. Here she meets the enigmatic Dr Doolilpersad (Rory Booth) who does his level best to get her to analyse or recognise her faults and, later on, to acknowledge her best talent, which is dancing.

Dr Doolilpersad has been through the mill himself so he sympathises with her battle to accept the demands of the entertainment industry where producers expect a particular look, body shape and vocal quality. His advice is - if you don’t fit the norm, make your own work! The end result is that Dr Doolilpersad is inspired to follow his dreams of working in theatre and suggests a collaboration.

P.A.R.C (no auditions required offers an interesting and valuable concept as so many people who go to auditions – in whatever field - are devastated by rejection. They all need a Dr Doolilpersad in their lives. Someone to say – “So what, you failed the audition. You probably don’t fit the image the producers are looking for. Accept that your skills aren’t strong enough”. Or – “Maybe you’re barking up the wrong tree, maybe this is not where your abilities fit. Let’s look at what you can do (in Melody’s case, dance) and focus on that.”

Both Spencer and Booth are highly experienced and committed performers and they carry the production with their energy. I would like to see this production developed further, with less emphasis on the scenes where Melody is required to sing off-key and more focus on her dancing skills. Serious attention also needs to be given to the microphones. The first night was delayed with the unexpected enforcement of load-shedding but the audience loyally chose to stay and wait the extra hour until electricity was restored.

The P.A.R.C (no auditions required) runs at The Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS until February 15 with performances from February 3 to 8 and again from February 12 to 15. Evening performances at 19h30, Sundays at 14h00 (extra show on February 15 at 18h00) and extra early shows on Saturdays at 17h00. Tickets R80 (R60 pensioners and children 10-16years). Bulk Booking Special: book for 10 people and only pay for 8.

Although actual seating is unreserved, booking is essential as the theatre can only accommodate 100 patrons. For reservations contact Ailsa Windsor on 083 250 2690. – Caroline Smart

NB: As the load-shedding programme now appears to be entrenched, it is best to check on performance times.