SHOW: THE WAY WE WERE!
PERFORMER: CAT SIMONI
MUSICAL DIRECTOR: JOHAN LAAS
DIRECTOR: PAUL SPENCE
VENUE: RHUMBELOW THEATRE, Durban, from August 5 to 7.
REVIEWER: PETER FELDMAN
Cat Simoni is a singer who is a great interpreter of other people’s songs and her many shows in this vein reflect this.
Over the years, she has paid tribute to such illustrious names as Judy Garland, Elton John, Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf, Noel Coward, Nana Mouskouri and Freddie Mercury to name a few.
Her strengths lie in her ability to interpret a song and then add her own embellishments, such as giving a strong jazzy feel to the classic ‘Over the Rainbow’.
Her Barbra Streisand songbook is impressive. With the help of a taciturn musical director in Johan Laas, whom she irritatingly tries to engage with during the show, turns over a fair amount of gems to keep most Barbra Streisand fans happy.
For me the show never quite got out of its ‘comfort zone’ and only a handful of numbers gave me the kind of goose bumps one gets from a song that truly touches an emotional core. Highlight numbers, though, were the magnificent ‘Send in the Clowns’, ‘People’, ‘Memory’, ‘On a Clear Day’, ‘The Way We Were’ and ‘Women in Love’.
The performance could have benefited from a stronger structure, though, and a better script, because much of her patter was of the inane variety, especially when “chatting up”, Laas who seemed a little embarrassed at these incursions into his artistic space.
Her striking gowns and sophisticated image, I’m afraid, was dissipated somewhat by something small; like sipping water from a bottle. Surely this lady deserves a glass!
Laas, of course, is a master musician and it was good again to observe his quiet demeanour as he worked his magic on piano and keyboards. He did all the arrangements and added original orchestrations.
This show entertains and Streisand’s music is well served by this team.
Tickets are R140 and can be booked at Computicket.
Pensioners & Block Bookings (8 or more): R120
Food picnic baskets are welcome. Braais will be available should show goers wish to cook some meat.