A Slice of Saturday Night. Music and lyrics by The Heather Brothers (Lea, Neil & John). G String Productions at Teatro Vivaldi, directed by Rod and Liz Beaver. Choreography by Jordan Kelly and Susan Miller. Band: Stuart King, Ben Braithwaite and Munro Melano. November 16 - December 3, 2005, 6.30pm for dinner and show. Bookings 3257 2718.
Double degustation, double delight. You only have till Saturday to book in to a show with excellent tastes.
You can look up that big word later, but know right now that it wasn't just the gourmet dips, fetta cheese and leek filos, zucchini and herb dumplings and roasted tomato, eggplant and goat's cheese stack for entree which heralded Vivaldi's delightful mains and sweets. Equally stunning was the quality of the slices, almost anatomical cross-sections, of Saturday Night at the Club A-Go-Go circa 1964.
Written in the late 1980s, this soft-satirical musical looks back with no regrets, in fact rather nostalgically, at what was probably the Heather Brothers' youthful experience of sexual awakening. There are some very funny songs, with references musical and lyrical to all the pop names of that time - including the prediction by the club manager, Eric 'rubber legs' DeVere (played very well by Peter Brady as a Bill Haley look-alike) that it would be the "Whiff" Cliff (Richards) who would survive the Beatles, The Animals and all the rest. How awfully true.
The delight in G String's production is that the musicianship, band and singers, was spot on throughout. Not a note out of place whether in a tear-jerker ballad, soft-porn rock, Beach Boys spoof, or an almost but not quite early Joan Baez (made sentimental) imitation folk revival song.
And that's not all. The choreography was tight in design and performance, artistically exact for the period, while fitting precisely up to 14 movers and shakers on the restaurant stage. The ensemble playing of the main boy-girl roles was so well balanced that it is unfair to pick one or two above the rest. I think each audience member would have picked their own favourites. Mine would be the couple Rebecca Franks (Sharon) and Will Huang (Rick) for voices and stage presence - and Craig Francis (Gary) especially for the premature ejaculation song.
As Eric asks, who in their right mind would want to be 17 again? But it's terrific fun watching. And watch for Queenie van de Zandt and Amanda Muggleton at Vivaldi's in December.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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