Alistair Izobell, Loukmaan Adams and Mono Dullisear have for years been lead men in the musicals of David Kramer and Taliep Petersen. Izobell’s voice is familiar in the Cape as a presenter on Heart 104.9 FM radio, while Adams and Dullisear are part of boy-group JAG.
In Where the Boys Are they have teamed up as a trio of crooners to showcase their musical and acting talents. The theme for this evening of ballads is their relationship to women, an excuse to string together several numbers, including Petersen and Kramer’s Zurayda and Queen of Hearts.
The exercise is a somewhat tenuous balance between musical entertainment and storytelling. Not all the stories are interesting enough to warrant staging, but as they are autobiographical, they are upfront, honest and perhaps for this reason slightly more compelling than taken at face value.
Starting with birth, they move through various stages – childhood games, school, adolescent love, their careers that have taken them on tour around the world. The women featured are adoring mothers, jealous lovers, controlling wives. Of course, we only hear one side of the story.
All three are married and the second half has each sharing with us where they have now arrived in life.
All three are equally weighted as actors and wonderful singers. Director Basil Appollis keeps the pace snappy. Although there are no show-stopping moments, it is a smooth evening of humour and quality entertainment.
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Musical legends Taliep Petersen and David Kramer worked together for two decades from 1986 to 2006, writing songs and creating musicals that have been performed to critical acclaim across the globe from Kuala Lumpur to London and New York. In memory of the late Petersen and to honour their friendship and the musical legacy of their extraordinary creative synergy, David and Renaye Kramer put together a Broadway style show of song and dance to showcase the songs from their many hit musicals. After an unprecedented success in the summer season, The Kramer Petersen Songbook now returns to the Baxter.
Except for two songs the first half is drawn from the musicals District Six (1987) and Kat and the Kings (1995). These are songs of loves and dreams. The closing number Dancing on My Own from Crooners (1992) gathers together a moving tribute to Taliep Petersen. The second half picks up the pace with vibrant ensemble numbers, the catchy beats of Ghoema (2005) and penetrating social commentary from Poison (1992).
A superb cast includes Kramer stalwarts Loukmaan Adams, Alistair Izobell and Mono Dullisear. The inimitable Terry Fortune anchors the show and even pulls off a hilarious turn in drag. Camillo Lombard leads a five-piece band with banjo, guitars, keyboard, drums and Donvino Prins’s mean saxophone. As one expects of a Kramer show, the production values are internationally high. Saul Radomsky’s set is a superlative marriage of style and function.
Petersen and Kramer’s songs are a joyous expression and reclamation of Cape culture, and they have become a part of the cultural fabric of the country. Their songbook is a gift to the nation.
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