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Monday, September 16, 2019


(Erin Fourie, Tanya Nicholson, Helen Vermaak & Grace Botha)

The show is good fun, playful and light-hearted - and it includes some seriously good singing as well. (Review by Keith Millar)

A positive spin-off from events such as The Hilton Arts Festival is that it inspires artists to create new productions to present at the festival.

One such production is the enjoyable Ladies Sing The Blues which showcases four of the KZN Midlands top performers, Erin Fourie, Tanya Nicholson, Helen Vermaak and Grace Botha and is directed by Peter Mitchell.

The show is good fun, playful and light-hearted - and it includes some seriously good singing as well.

The show features blues and jazz standards from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London, Etta James, Joan Armatrading, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter and Louis Armstrong.

There are also more contemporary pieces re-arranged to fit into this genre of music such as a Britney Spears Medley and Cindi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

Each of the singers has their own particular style. Erin Fourie, for example, has a big powerful voice with a gorgeous timbre. She shows off her considerable range with songs such as Cry Me A River, Stormy Weather and for me the highlight of the show At Last.

Alluring Tanya Nicholson is the mischievous presence on stage. She is playful, slinky and sensual as she delivers songs like Making Whoopee (perfect for her personality) Someone To Watch Over Me and What A Wonderful World with a beautiful breathy voice.

Grace Botha has the quintessential blues voice which she uses to good effect for her soulful renditions of Love and Affection, Georgia On My Mind and It Don’t Mean A Thing.

Helen Vermaak displays all her skill and experience in delivering Misty, Don’t Know Why and My Funny Valentine.

There are also duos and songs featuring the whole group in a jam-packed programme of over 22 songs. Backing on a keyboard is shared between Helen Vermaak and Grace Botha with Erin Fourie pitching with her guitar from time to time.

I thought I detected a few nerves at the start but that settled down as show progressed and the chatter and repartee got slicker and more spontaneous.

The only negative was the sound system at the Art Block venue which was not up to the standard it should have been and let the artists down from time to time.

Ladies Sing The Blues is a charming, classy and most enjoyable production. It will be visiting Durban for a run at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s hotel In Kloof from September 25 to 29.

Do yourself a favour and get to see it. You won’t be disappointed. – Keith Millar

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