Spy’s gags leave them shaken and stirred

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to ndr clint1 Supplied IN LIKE FLINT: Clinton Philander turns spy in Our Man Clint now on at the Catalina Theatre.

OUR MAN CLINT

DIRECTOR: Verne Rowin Munsamy

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Clinton Philander

CAST: Clinton Philander, Amanda Kunene, Lisa Heathman and Nadine Oberholzer.

VENUE: Catalina Theatre

UNTIL: August 3

RATING: ***

DURBAN entertainer Clinton Philander stars in Our Man Clint.

Inspired by the US TV series and movie, Our Man Flint, the musical revue show sees him take on a secret spy character as he travels the world in search of a chalice of youth, able to provide eternal life to the one who finds it.

But Clint is in a race against time as he tries to find the chalice before an infamous villain does.

Think Flint, James Bond and Austin Powers – well, maybe more of the latter with a South African twist – and you have an idea of who our man Clint is.

As he pursues the chalice – with the support of his “Angels” (modelled on Charlie’s Angels), played by Amanda Kunene, Lisa Heathman and Nadine Oberholzer – the audience is treated to an array of songs from around the world, and linked to the off-beat characters which Philander portrays.

From Elvis to James Brown to Bob Marley, Frank Sinatra, The Spice Girls, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and more, the hits are varied and across genres. Even local hits like Los Lappie feature on the song list.

On main vocals, Philander and Kunene do a great job. Known for his musical revues, Philander is a pleasure to watch in this show, with his personal touch – a playful rapport with the audience – a hit.

Kunene is no stranger to fans of live local music and she again proves her versatility and natural prowess when it comes to music.

Dancers Lisa Heathman and Nadine Oberholzer deserve special mention on the music and acting fronts, this being their first effort at combining all of these talents. Heathman puts on a great show as a ditsy blonde agent and the audience loves her.

Oberholzer’s performance on back-up vocals and occasionally on lead is great. She performed wonderfully in a rendition of the classic hit, Ella Fitzgerald’s Summertime.

The first half of the show we reviewed seemed to get off to a slow start with the cast visibly unnerved. It was only after that that I realised this could partly be because the cast had only two weeks to rehearse the show and the dancers were taking on acting roles for the first time. Also, and this is just my opinion, but I think performing a show like this in a setting like the Catalina – which is very intimate, with the audience basically at the foot of the stage – is a bit daunting.

That said, by the second half they all seemed to be more at ease and having more fun, which is important for a revue show like this that is meant to be light and entertaining. The second half seemed to run more smoothly. There was more audience interaction, with clapping and sing-a-longs, and it was generally more fun-filled.

Our Man Clint marks writer and director Verne Rowin Munsamy’s first stab at a musical revue, with Philander on musical direction. Munsamy’s script is playful with a spy-thriller spoof twist. Light entertainment for an easy-going evening or afternoon.

A fairly significant letdown at the show we reviewed was the sound department. At times, mics were off at the beginning of songs or levels were either too high or too low, or background music was too high or too low. Good quality sound and sound management is key for a show like this, so that is one area that definitely needs fine-tuning.

On the whole this show is enjoyable family fare. It has the potential to be a great show with time and improvement. Still worth a watch if you’re keen on an easy, fun outing with family and friends.

• Show runs until August 3 (no shows on Mondays and Tuesdays). Tickets are R120 through Computicket. Enquiries: 031 837 5999.


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