Getting in the groove

2010-07-03 00:00

ADRIAN Poulsen has enjoyed his first stint working in Durban so much that he’s seriously considering making the city his annual June base.

“I can’t believe how lovely and warm it is here … it’s about minus five in Joburg at night,” the singer-actor-director tells me when we meet at the Barnyard Theatre Gateway in Umhlanga to chat about his latest show All You Need Is Love and his debut album Heaven From Here.

“I’ve never worked in Durban before. I’ve got a young family, so my wife [actress Jocelyn Broderick] and I didn’t want to do any touring shows, but this time I’ve been able to bring them along and they’re loving it … they’re at Ballito at the moment.”

Poulsen has been entertaining people for as long as he can remember. As a child, he trod the boards in Oliver! and Bugsy Malone among others, and after doing a journalism degree and an honours in drama at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, he enjoyed success in musical theatre, taking the lead role in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the State Theatre in Pretoria; playing Ritchie Valens in The Buddy Holly Story (again at the State Theatre); and appearing in Evita, Cabaret, Peter Pan, Jesus Christ Superstar and many more.

He also played Adaan de la Rey in Deon Opperman’s Ons Vir Jou at The State Theatre — a musical of the Boer War which includes the controversial Afrikaans anthem De La Rey — and appeared in Ian von Memerty’s Fiela’s Child at the Civic Theatre and Artscape.

Despite his success, Poulsen freely admits that he would hate to get tied down doing just one thing. “I love trying new things — that’s why I sing, act and direct. You never get bored. I once did a show for two years and the repetition nearly killed me.”

That desire to test himself and create new works is best illustrated in his relationship with the Barnyard Theatres, for which he has created shows like Dancing Queen, Diamonds and Pearls and SuperTroupers (which will be opening at the Gateway venue on July 13).

His latest production All You Need Is Love is a tribute to the music of The Beatles. “I’ve been working on and off for the Barnyard for the past 10 years and have always wanted to do a Beatles show. They left an incredible musical legacy and we pay homage to those amazing songs,” Poulsen said.

Fans of the Fab Four can enjoy hits like Love Me Do, Can’t Buy Me Love, She Loves You, Eight Days A Week and I Want To Hold Your Hand, as well as cover versions of Beatles songs done by Stevie Wonder, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner and Michael Bublé, and the solo hits of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

The Durban run is the first staging of the show, which Poulsen says was knocked into shape during rehearsals in a Johannesburg bowling club.

The energetic performer is also spending time promoting his debut album Heaven From Here. All the tracks are lyrically inspired, melodically driven and deal with matters of the heart. They include the evocative first single Anything, which is getting airplay on 15 radio stations around the country, and new and unusual arrangements of classic pop songs, including The Cutting Crew’s (I Just Died) In Your Arms.

“I have wanted to do a record for a long time … I wanted to have something which I could show my kids [six-year-old Gabriel and 16-year-old stepson, Devan], something I could be proud of. It’s amazing to be driving down the road and hear Anything on the radio,” he added.

To produce the album, which will be released internationally through Matchbox Records in the United Kingdom, Poulsen worked with some of the country’s best producers, including Marius Brouwer, who he says brought “fantastic energy to the project”.

“I love working with people who have the same standards I do. There is a lot of crap out there — people who throw shows together with a bad backing track. That’s not me. I do what I do to make good entertainment for people,” he added.

 

• All You Need Is Love can be seen at the Barnyard Theatre at Gateway until July 11. Tickets are R120 Wednesday to Saturday, and R85 on Tuesday and Sunday. To book, phone 031 566 3045.

 

• For more information about Adrian Poulsen and to hear tracks from his new album, log on to www.adrianpoulsen.com

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