‘Gorgeous and gifted’

2014-08-12 00:00

If you fancy a night out, make sure you catch these divas singing enduring musical classics at the Hexagon



THE first women of jazz, RnB, Motown and pop are honoured in the fabulous new music revue, Young, Gifted and Gorgeous, by Peter Mitchell and Helen Vermaak.

These disparate genres can all trace their starting point back to 19th century spirituals and that history is demonstrated in the company’s performance of Let My People Go.

It’s the perfect start to an evening of music that showcases the talents of jazz greats Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and Etta James.

Erin Fourie delivers a cracking version of James’s At Last and the cast had fun with Fitzgerald’s take on the children’s song A Tisket A Tasket.

From these divas of song, the show moves into the sounds of the fifties, courtesy of a Shirelles medley, Chapel of Love by the Dixie Cups, the Supremes’ Mister Sandman and Stand By Me by Ben E. King. I also loved the Jackson Five medley delivered by the five boys in the show.

The second half starts with Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World and then celebrates the likes of Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and The Pointer Sisters.

I was captivated by Tatum Donnelly’s rendition of Killing Me Softly and loved the energy of Sthembile Nyanda, Nandile Khumalo and Zazi Kunene in Tina Turner’s Proud Mary.

The musical stars of the eighties, nineties and the 21st century also get a chance to shine during the show. The boys’ version of Michael Jackson’s Black Or White brought the house down and the women had fun with Beyoncè’s Single Ladies.

But for me, the two stand-out moments were Fourie’s performance of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car and Brandon Bosch’s version of John Legend’s mega hit, All of Me.

The singers are accompanied by Jeff Judge (piano), Bavian Melling (drums), Skippy Khubeka (lead guitar) and Paul de Fleuriot (bass).

Marcus Henning’s set is simple but effective and the costumes, created by Sandra Styles, are fluid and versatile, allowing the cast to both sing and dance.

Young, Gifted and Gorgeous is a true celebration of some of the industry’s best voices and most enduring musical classics. So, if you fancy a great night out, head down to the Hexagon today and tomorrow.

• Young, Gifted and Gorgeous runs at the Hexagon Theatre on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal until tomorrow. Shows are at 7.30 pm. Tickets cost R80 (R60 for pensioners and R50 for students) at Computicket.

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