Cast: Vanessa Searle, Delray Burns and Margaux Fouché

Venue: Kalk Bay Theatre

Until: January 6

Cape Town - Interactive entertainment at its frothiest is what Face the Music 2 purveys in generous dollops, shamelessly exploiting audience appetite for competitive quizzes and Trivial Pursuit. All the questions posed in the course of this music game show relate to popular entertainment from the past 50 years: films, singers, groups and hits are some of the categories on the agenda.

Members of the audience each find a sheet of paper complete with pen and clipboard on their seat; the paper outlines seven areas of knowledge to be tested, with a maximum score of 35 indicated at the end. Participation is voluntary and not many patrons of the show opt to remain mere spectators. Rivalry in pursuit of the prize (a bottle of choice brandy) is palpable.

An additional attraction in Face the Music 2 is the array of song and dance offered by the three women hosting the event: they pout, giggle, croon and dance their flirtatious way through the evening with enviable stamina.

Costumes are eye-catching and sexy, changed at lightning speed and worn with aplomb as the performers go from blood-red velvet to skin-hugging black to cutesy pastels, net petticoats and Alice bands in true 1950s style. No one could accuse them of lacking variety. Or boldness.

Vanessa Searle is the dominant presence of the trio, steering proceedings with the authority born of experience and previous success (the original version of Face the Music won a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival this year).

Her co-performers are new to the show, but have quickly assimilated the requisite sassiness to do it justice, and one of the evening’s highlights came from Margaux Fouché, whose soulful rendition of Dance with my Father Again had more than one patron groping for a tissue.

The girls are, on the whole, better singing solo; though individually blessed with sweet voices and strong delivery, they do not always achieve harmonious ensemble. An illusion of the latter quality is created visually by near-identical costumes and wigs, and they are physically well-matched.

Much of the success of Face the Music 2 depends on the audience, which is as it should be in this genre.

Not surprisingly, most of those attending are very knowledgeable about the material tested, and when several fundis score 33, the brandy’s recipient is decided by sudden death play-off.

At the end of this exercise, even the losers are in good humour after an evening of stimulation, competition and fun. - Tonight