Heart-warming musical brilliance

2011-11-17 00:00

CAT Simoni is blessed with one of the most beautiful voices that I’ve been privileged to hear — and in Alan Sutherland’s new musical revue, The Girl From Somewhere, it is showcased brilliantly.

Sutherland, a former All Black and a racehorse breeder who now lives in Gowrie Village in Nottingham Road, sets his story in a village in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, where successful Johannesburg musician Gabriel (Paul Spence) has relocated to to lick his wounds after his wife leaves him for her gym instructor.

Into his booze-sodden existence comes Mildred Raubenheimer (Simoni), a young girl with a raw talent and a heart full of desire. She wants to learn to sing on a professional stage as a gift to her mother who has cancer.

Simoni deliberately doesn’t sing at her best in the beginning to show how Mildred progresses.

And as Mildred’s voice grows, Simoni’s own vocal prowess is revealed in a string of technically demanding diva numbers made famous by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, a truly stunning rendition of Adele’s Someone Like You, as well as some musical theatre numbers — including my favourite, I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables.

Simoni worked to a couple of backing tracks during the show, but it was when she sang with just piano, or with no accompaniment at all, that you really got the chance to savour each and every note.

Last Friday night’s show, which was in aid of the Mooi River Farmers’ Association, took the form of a supper theatre, with the starter and main course splitting the revue itself into three acts. This meant there were some delays getting proceedings back on track after each course, but this is not an insurmountable problem and certainly no one at the show seemed in the least bit put out.

And the meal itself was outstanding. Prepared by Jackie Cameron, it included a starter of camembert with fresh asparagus, candied almonds, fresh rocket and caesar salad dressing, and a main course of basil-pesto marinated chicken breast with caramelised red onions, a pomme cigar and red wine sauce.

Sutherland is planning to stage The Girl From Somewhere at the Nottingham Road Hotel next month, and I highly recommend you book to see it. Talent like that exhibited by Simoni and Spence needs the support of every­one in Pietermaritzburg and the midlands.

• The Girl From Somewhere can be seen at the Nottingham Road Hotel on December 21. Tickets for the performance, which will be in a supper-theatre format, are R180 each and can be booked at 033 266 6151.

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