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Lots of bump and grind with ‘Tarts’

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TO tarts

TARTS
DIRECTOR: Owen Lazar
CAST: Judy Ditchfield, Ilse Klink, Caitlin Clerk
MUSICIANS: Kevin Feather (piano), Jiggs Downing (bass), J House (drums)
VENUE: Sandton’s Auto and General Theatre on the Square
UNTIL: December 21
RATING: ***

 

It’s the silly season, that time of the year when people start winding down, and if they’re not going away, they are searching for entertainment that will offer escape.

Tarts does exactly that with two weary souls attempting to show some young blood the ropes. With experience and exhaustion crashing into enthusiasm, innocence and idealism, it takes some serious bump and grind to get this ingenue into the real world – their world.

Mostly they do it with the songs they sing – solo and ensemble – depending on who is trying to say what. It took young Clerk a few songs to get her sound sorted out but once she took the hand mic, her performance soared dramatically and by the end of the hour, the women really got into their stride.

Cabaret is a tough call in the new millennium. It’s difficult to pull off and the straight up and down just doesn’t cut it any more.

But with this one, because of the time of the year when most people just want to kick back and let their hair down, if they can ratchet it up a notch or two from the start and hold it, they’ll pull it off.

All three have to push the envelope and their characters right to the edge. If they’re old and weary, they go there.

Both Ditchfield and Klink have their moments (and their songs), but it needs another shovel of weariness, while Clerk can do without the spoonful of sugar and inhale some more slutty sass. She does a soaring solo with Kevin Feather’s Lonely.

Tarts doesn’t need vulgar, but the naughty has to be down and dirty. Opening nights are rough on everyone’s nerves – the performers and the audience. But once they relaxed, kicked into their charac- ters and were ready to roll, it came together.

Give a little more of that. With that kind of talent on stage, it’s a cinch.

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