Kieran Rennie and Ashleigh Harvey in London Live


Co-written and starring: Kieran Rennie and Ashleigh Harvey

VENUE: Sandton’s Old Mutual Theatre on the Square

UNTIL: November 17

RATING: 3 stars (out of 5)

Diane de Beer

“Take a walk down memory lane and have a little fun” is the tagline of this show. It is presented by two talented performers who wish to share their love of London music from a certain time with local audiences.

Starting in the ’60s and running through to the ’90s, with a touch of Adele and Amy Winehouse, the music is what drives the show and these two can certainly make music. Both Rennie and Harvey have stage smarts but what would have counted even more in their favour was to trust more in their ability.

Cabaret or music shows with cover songs are probably among the toughest to pull off. The only thing you really have on your side is the strength of the songs and the way you perform them. It would be easy to return to hear Harvey perform the beautiful George Harrison song While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

What made it special was the Rennie accompaniment on guitar, shadowing her gorgeous voice, which gives the song its individuality even though we all recognise the Beatles classic.

Once you bring in backtracks, it’s tough not to think karaoke even when you have the voices to pull it off. It becomes an unavoidable mime exercise. Finance is always the problem and one understands that certain practical decisions have to be made.

But Harvey and Rennie should perform in tandem throughout rather than solo, not because they can’t do it on their own but because they complement one another so magnificently and it immediately makes the songs their own.

Instead of singing Roxanne to backtracks, Rennie should have accompanied her on guitar, and even George Michael’s Faith would have been more authentic if he had played the guitar. Sometimes the one would be singing and the other would be on stage but, rather than join in, just be there. They both have the ability to harmonise and add to individual songs.

It’s a party, the music is familiar and the audience are invited to join in, but with a bit more confidence in their own ability it would have been a much more rewarding show.