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Saturday, November 14, 2015


 ( Ian & Vivienne Von Memerty. Pic by Ivan Naude)

A five star production performed by five star performers. (Review by Keith Millar)

Do you feel like giving yourself a special treat? Well, then get to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre before November 22 to check out this wonderfully entertaining production featuring two of South Africa’s premier entertainers.

Ever-popular show business couple, Ian and Vivienne Von Memerty, have both turned 50. So to mark this milestone, and to celebrate their 25 years together as a married couple, they are touring the country with their marvellous show Fantastic 50.

It is spectacular, dazzling kaleidoscope of song and dance, light and colour, glitz and glamour, joy and laughter, and even with a tear or two thrown in.

Ian is irrepressible, mischievous, lovable and with a disarming smile which would melt most hearts. Viv is sophisticated, elegant, serene and with legs to die for. Together they create a unique and tangible chemistry on stage which takes their performance to dizzy heights.

Ian Von Memerty is a celebrated and highly successful entertainer. He is a song and dance man, a comedian, a piano player and a TV presenter. In fact he can do it all. One only has to mention his Handful of Keys with its 1,400 performances worldwide to confirm his ability. Well, he brings all these skills to bear in this production. His session of “stand-up” comedy at the start where he chats about cellphones, computers and GPS systems is one of the funniest I have ever heard.

Viv Von Memerty (perhaps better known as Vivian Lawrence) is a dancer of some note and reputation. A skill she still has in oodles, despite reaching the age of 50. She started dancing at the age of six and has never stopped. Her dancing in this show is quite breathtaking. However, what is surprising, considering the ease and composure with which she carries it off, is that this show marks the first time she has spoken or sung on stage. Her beautifully understated version of I Believe I Can Fly, was for me, one of the highlights of the show.

The costumes for the show were superb. Ranging from the sophisticated to funky and downright outrageous, they were marvellous. What is more, Ian did many of his costume changes on stage while chatting to the audience.

Excellent sound and lighting also played a strong part in this polished and classy production.

The Von Memertys’ life together has not been all plain sailing. In fact, at times their story reads more like a drama script than real life. Like any 25 year old marriage, it has had its ups and downs, and as parents they have been down paths where no person should be asked to go.

In telling their story they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Nothing is candy coated. They tell of all the happiness, love and laughter as well as the lowest points and the depths of despair they have experienced. They talk of how they survived 25 years of show business marriage, and of joyous new beginnings. It is deeply personal story, but universal at the same time. Ultimately it is uplifting and enlightening and bears more than one pearl of wisdom for all of us to ponder over.

Fantastic 50 is a five star production performed by five star performers and this show stands out as a rare jewel. I cannot recommend it too highly. The two and a half hours passed by very quickly.

Fantastic 50 can be seen at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the campus of KZN University in Durban until November 22. The show starts at 19h30 every evening and there are matinée performances at 15h00 on Saturdays and Sundays. Booking is via Computicket - phone 0861 915 8000 or online at www.computicket – Keith Millar