Fun and simply amazing

2012-08-23 00:00

LIVERPOOL’S Fab Four — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr — ruled the music world for a decade during the sixties and early seventies. Now, some of Pietermaritzburg’s finest performers are paying their tribute to The Beatles in Peter Mitchell’s Magical Mystery Tour at the Hexagon Theatre, on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The Witness caught up with two of the cast — Erin Fourie, a finalist in last year’s Idols, and critically acclaimed actress and singer, Caitlin Kilburn — to chat about the music and the show.

Fourie said she has loved being back on stage at the Hexagon, and, watching her on Tuesday evening, it’s clear she has great fun performing the Western-inspired Rocky Raccoon, a single taken from The White Album, and showcasing her fabulous voice in McCartney’s wonderful Hey Jude, released in 1968.

“I was so excited when I saw the advert [for the show] and said if I can do it, then I must. It’s put me back to my roots,” the singer, who is lecturing part-time at UKZN Pietermaritzburg’s drama department, said.

Fourie, who graduated with honours from the same department, spends almost the entire show on stage, performing in all the ensemble numbers when she’s not doing her solos.

Kilburn, who also studied at UKZN Pietermaritzburg’s drama department, said: “I love coming back and working with all these amazing people. I first did a show with Peter when I was still an Epworth schoolgirl ... it’s always great to work with him.”

The talented singer and actress, who is doing a stint of lecturing second year drama students at the university, performs a stunning solo of The Fool on the Hill, which was written and sung by McCartney and recorded in 1967. She is also part of a colourful and amusing underwater scene, which features a hammerhead shark, dayglo octopus and jelly fish, with songs like Octopus’s Garden from the album Abbey Road and Yellow Submarine.

“I get to dress up in a ridiculous mermaid costume and then I float off in the yellow submarine,” Kilburn said.

The actress has had a busy year and looking ahead will be starring alongside Durban actor Rory Booth in Athol Fugard’s Boesman and Lena at The Witness Hilton Arts Festival in September, and in KickStArt Theatre Company’s staging of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban over the festive season.

“My year has really worked out well,” Kilburn said. “I will be marking exams when rehearsals for Beauty and the Beast start. We did some costume fittings the other day and I’m even more excited about doing the show ... it’s like playing dress up and getting paid for it.”

As to why Pietermaritzburg residents should quit the couch and head to the theatre to see the Magical Mystery Tour, both performers say it’s great fun and it is showcasing some of the amazing talent in the city.

Fourie said: “It’s fun to watch ... and you’ll probably end up singing along to all the songs. Peter is amazing and the costumes, sets and music are all amazing.”

Using some 50 Beatles’ songs, some complete and some shortened or just hinted at, the show’s ensemble cast takes a new and dynamic look at the band and its music, from Love Me Do through to Let It Be.

Choreography is by Paul Datlen, and the show features singers ike Tamlyn Calder, Daniel Rossouw, Lunga Msimang and Jon Branch. It is accompanied by a band under the baton of Jeff Judge and features the talents of Helen Vermaak, Jonathan Judge, Bryan Stone and Steun le Roux.

Showtimes are 7.30 pm today and tomorrow, and 2.30 pm and 7.30 pm on Saturday. Tickets are R70 (R50 for students and seniors). To book, e-mail hexa gon@ukzn.ac.za or phone 033 260 5537. A limited number will also be available at the door, especially for the Saturday matinee.

 

• Catch Erin Fourie gigging at Il Postino on the Dargle Road in the midlands on the first Thursday of every month, and at Hebron Haven this Sunday. The singer will also be performing at a charity evening in aid of the Salvation Army at Maritzburg College next week, and at the Barry Meintjies benefit concert on September 8 at the Royal Showgrounds.

DIRECTED by Peter Mitchell and with musical direction by Helen Vermaak, the Magical Mystery Tour plots the meteoric rise of The Beatles against the timeline of major world events — including the Sharpeville massacre, the pass laws and defiance campaign in South Africa. Also included are mentions of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the space race and the fact that after being unbanned Lady Chatterley’s Lover was a sell-out.

Songs include hits like Love Me Do, Magical Mystery Tour, Penny Lane, She Loves You , With A Little Help From My Friends , Strawberry Fields, I Want To Hold Your Hand , All My Loving, A Hard Day’s Night , Can’t Buy Me Love, From Me To You, Help, Paperback Write r , Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds , When I’m 64, and many more.

It also features stand out vocal performances by Erin Fourie, Caitlin Kilburn, Jon Branch, Brandon Bosch, Tammy Calder and 16-year-old Epworth schoolgirl, Nonji Ndwandwe, and beautiful contemporary dance by Branch in No where Man (sung by Bosch), Thobeka Bhengu in Blackbird, which was written by McCartney in reaction to racial tensions escalating in the U.S. in the spring of 1968, and Bosch and J.C. Zondi in Once There Was A Way (sung by Calder).

I found the montage set to All The Lonely People, which featured great visuals on the screens at the back of the stage, very moving. I also enjoyed the humour in Calder’s portrayal of the Statue of Liberty to mark The Beatles’ invasion of America, and the performance of Her Majesty in which Sandra Styles plays Queen Elizabeth II and hands over gigantic singles instead of the MBEs, which the band received in 1965.

Adding to the feelgood factors are the stage — a multi-tiered affair painted in black and white and complete with a gigantic Parlophone record, a nod to the EMI label which first signed The Beatles — and the costumes. The cast are initially dressed in black and white, but later, to mark the birth of psychadelia, they change into colourful tie-die and then into the iconic costumes from the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

Tuesday’s show was affected by a few first night nerves and a couple of sound issues, but none of it detracted from what was a great night out. So grab your Ticket To Ride and get on-board this Magical Mystery Tour before it finishes on Saturday. — Estelle Sinkins.

REVIEW

The Magical Mystery Tour

Hexagon Theatre, UKZN

 

DIRECTED by Mitchell and with musical direction by Helen Vermaak, the Magical Mystery Tour plots the meteoric rise of The Beatles against the timeline of major world events, including the Sharpeville massacre, the pass laws and defiance campaign in South Africa, mentions of John F Kennedy Martin Luther King, the space race and the fact that after being unbanned Lady Chatterley’s Lover was a sell-out.

Songs include hits like Love Me Do, Magical Mystery Tour, Penny Lane, She Loves You, With A Little Help From My Friends, Strawberry Fields, I Want To Hold Your Hand, All My Loving, A Hard Day’s Night, Can’t Buy Me Love, From Me To You, Help, Paperback Writer, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, When I’m 64, and many more.

It also features stand out vocal performances by Erin Fourie, Caitlin Kilburn, Jon Branch, Brandon Bosch, Tammy Calder and 16-year-old Epworth schoolgirl, Nonji Ndwandwe; and some beautiful contemporary dance, in particular by Branch in Nowhere Man (sung by Bosch), Thobeka Bhengu in Blackbird, which was written by McCartney in reaction to racial tensions escalating in the United States in the spring of 1968, and Bosch and JC Zondi in Once There Was A Way (sung by Calder).

I also found the montage set to All The Lonely People, which featured great visuals on the screens at the back of the stage, very moving; and enjoyed the humour in Calder’s portrayal of the Statue of Liberty to mark The Beatles invasion of America, and the performance of Her Majesty in which Sandra Styles plays Queen Elizabeth II and hands over gigantic singles instead of the MBEs which the band received in 1965.

Adding to the feelgood factors is the stage, a multi-tiered affair painted in black and white and complete with a gigantic Parlophone record – a nod to the EMI label which first signed The Beatles; and the costumes.

The cast are initially dressed in black and white but later, to mark the birth of psychadelia, they change into colourful tie-die and then the iconic costumes from the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

Tuesday’s show was affected by a few first night nerves and a couple of sound issues, but none of it detracted from what was a great night out. So grab your Ticket To Ride and get on-board this Magical Mystery Tour before it finishes on Saturday.

Estelle Sinkins

REVIEW

‘The Magical Mystery Tour’

Hexagon Theatre, UKZN

 

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