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IMAGINE what it would be like going back in time to enjoy some of the greatest music. That’s what you’re in for with Best Days of Our Lives, coming soon to The Barnyard Theatre.
The show centres on five decades of school reunion parties including the classes of ’69, ’79, ’89, ’99 and ’09.
Each era features some of the best tunes, from California Dreamin’, Stayin’ Alive and Girls Just Want to Have Fun to hits by Christina Aguilera and Kings of Leon.
Tonight caught up with the director, Duck Chowles, to learn more about the concept: “I would say it has a very nostalgic angle because it’s based on a school reunion, so it’s a trip down memory lane,” he said.
“Also, it’s presented by a headmistress of a school and her life throughout her school career, so it’s very much a nostalgic journey through the reunions and the music related to those eras.
“Like in the 1990s, when everyone finished school, most of them went to the UK or Europe for a year for working reasons. And those eras have come and gone.”
Comprising a 10-piece cast, the show features Bronwyn Evans (who also directed and scripted the show with Chowles), JP Moggee, Granville Michaels, Elaine Fourie, Peyton Claasens, Nontu Xulu, Calli Thomson, Ralph Martin, Kelly Joubert and Colin Heaney.
“The two most rewarding aspects are to put together the right set list and also find the right people to perform the songs.
“And getting the right performers can be tricky. But I know my performers well and their strong points,” Chowles said.
In terms of the show’s format, it takes on a storyline that fits the music.
Chowles said: “There’s going to be a tribute to South African artists as well, like Johnny Clegg and Brenda Fassie.
“And the audience is basically seen as part of the school reunion which is hosted by the headmistress.
“She welcomes the audience and then her story of being a schoolteacher and her life is generally the thread throughout the show, until the second half where there’s a bit of a surprise when she transforms into a diva herself.”
I asked Chowles how, having produced and directed numerous productions at The Barnyard, he made each show unique.
“That is a tricky challenge.
“The main thing is to give every show its own grounding, and its own theme, and once you have that you can build the music around it.
“Some shows are sit-down shows, but Best Days of Our Lives is definitely more a party show.”
• Best Days of Our Lives runs at The Barnyard Theatre from March 11 to April 20. Tickets: R140 on Wednesdays to Saturdays and R95 on Sundays. For information visit www.barnyardtheatre.co.za.