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BOYS IN THE BAND
DIRECTOR AND WRITER: David Malek
CAST: Nana Matapule, Simon Brook McLachlan, Tom Sarah, Leigh Sleightholme
BAND: Patrick Madden and from South Africa: Raymond Verster (keyboards), Jethro Stange (guitar), Kelly Joubert (bass)
VENUE: The Mandela at the Joburg Theatre
UNTIL: October 13
There are a few things working against these boys in the band. We’ve just had a fantastic season of the locally produced Jersey Boys which features a lot of songs and we have one of the strongest local seasons of Idols. When it comes to voices, this country has serious talent.
So if you’re going to bring a show that relies on music, the performers had better pull out all the stops. It simply wasn’t happening on opening night.
Tribute shows have upped their game these past few years with the Joburg Theatre presenting a few stunners that include the Michael Jackson and the Whitney Houston shows most recently.
But this time, it simply wasn’t there. The show felt under-rehearsed as if the singers and the band weren’t always in sync, the sound didn’t seem to carry and sometimes it was a battle even to hear the performers when they spoke.
A song like Ben for example, even though quite gentle, should almost envelop the audience. But the sound seemed to fade away with every note.
Sometimes the harmonies were off key and some of the most iconic and recognisable songs such as Sounds of Silence simply didn’t work.
Don’t even try to imagine the iconic John Lennon Imagine.
It’s a bit of a mishmash with some of the songs sticking to the original version, while others were given an individual spin. Sometimes they worked, but more often, sadly not.
It was almost as if the charm factor and the moves weren’t there on the night.
The performers worked best as a group, rather than in solo performances, but it was difficult to determine whether it was the fault of the singer or the sound.
If we’re going to bring in a show all the way from Australia, one which has been touring Asia but also playing cruise ships and corporates, get it right.
There’s too much talent in this country and too many similar excellent tribute shows have been done through the years locally not to expect the best.
And whether Boys in the Band points to boy bands or not (that’s the aspect that was emphasised in the advertising), introducing Simon and Garfunkel and The Beatles in this kind of context smacked of opportunism.
It’s tough not to give a show the nod, but tickets are expensive and time a precious commodity. This one simply doesn’t cut it.
You will get the music from some of the best known boys in the band, but if the performances don’t match the hype, it’s a waste of time.