Giving life to yesteryear’s ‘Radio Classics’

Giving life to yesteryear’s ‘Radio Classics’

PETER TROMP spoke to ALISTAIR IZOBELL and CLARENCE FORD about their festive show ‘Radio Classics’, directed by David Kramer that is running during the holidays at the Baxter.

How have you guys tried to make ‘Radio Classics’ different to the festive shows we have seen in recent years at the Baxter?
Alistair Izobell: ‘Radio Classics’ is just a fun-filled show that reminds us of the wonderful relationship we all had with radio at one time and gives audiences a live view of how a radio show is run. So the music unfolds and the on air presenter presents his show live for us. It is fun, sexy, exciting and you will be singing along with it as you relive the moments you experienced the first time you heard some of these classics.

What sparked the idea for the show?
Clarence Ford: ‘The Sunday Radio Show’ on Heart 104.9 enjoyed enormous growth, a clear indication that people enjoyed the nostalgia and integrity of the musical choices. It made sense to take it into a “live” production.
AI: I thought it would be a great idea for the super fans of Clarence to have access and insight into his show in an intimate and interactive space.

What has it been like to work with a theatre legend like David Kramer?
CF: David has a very clear sense of what he wants. This is obviously fueled by his four decade long legacy on many stages in SA. The result is a complete look and feel and a great enhancement to the musical choices and talent.
AI: David is, has been and I hope will always be in my life. Over two decades I have worked with him I found him the most imaginative, intuitive, and gifted master of theatre, and he brings the visual magic to the show as only he can.
He is generous with his knowledge of the industry and his craft. It is only but an honour for him to direct this show for me and the rest of the team.

The Festive Season is generally regarded as a time of giving, and I understand you guys have a couple of shows lined up that will benefit charities in Cape Town. Please tell us about those.
AI: The charities that have benefited range from churches and schools to sports clubs and homes for the elderly.

How would you guys encourage other Capetonians to help during the Festive Season?
CF: It is the season for giving. We must remind ourselves of our blessings and be mindful of the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves. Just a sense of appreciation and gratefulness will bring us closer to a life of giving, even if just a generosity of spirit.
AI: I think whatever one does at Christmas time or throughout the year, one has to give or do with conviction and honesty. Never question as to why you are doing or giving, but make sure it is with love and joy that you spread goodwill. It sometimes takes a lot, but just a smile or sitting and speaking with someone can mean a lot in that person’s life.

What are among your favourite Festive Season traditions in Cape Town?
CF: The Christmas tree still makes me happy, as does the smile on a child’s face on receipt of a gift.
AI: Seeing people happy at this time of year, the release of all the year’s tension and families gathering at each other’s homes to spend time together.

For those not familiar with Clarence’s radio show, what kind of music can audiences look forward to in ‘Radio Classics’?
AI: It is across the board, from reggae, to ballads, pop and classics you might have forgotten.
CF: (The artists that are being covered) is eclectic, from Bread, Chicago and Etta James to George Benson, Taveres, The Stylistics and Nat King Cole.

Tell us about the other singers in the show.
AI: They are the most awesome and talented individuals I have worked with, ever. It is a joy to watch them breathe life in to some of my favourite songs with pure honesty. I personally think audiences will fall in love with Aleshia Solomons, Nur Abrahams and Edith Plaaitjies’s magical and enchanting God-given voices.

Finally, what would be the ideal gift to discover in your Christmas stocking come the special morning?
CF: Just one wish to be granted by God. I would wish for a world without poverty and war.
AI: A lottery ticket with the wining numbers.

* ‘Radio Classics is showing until January 5. Book at Computicket.