With winter well and truly under way, we’re all coming up with reasons not to leave our cosy homes and electric blankets. But, sometimes, a night at the theatre can warm your heart and soul even more than an evening spent on the sofa watching The Wire re-runs with a glass of gluhwein in hand.
The new Here’s To You – The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook musical is one such production.
Why see it?
It’s one of the best musical productions I’ve seen in years, and not only because I grew up dancing around the living room to songs like Graceland and You Can Cal Me Al. Though, I have to admit getting a huge lump in my throat when the talented cast performed some hits, so the touch of sentimentality wasn’t far away.
So why book tickets? The simple set is beautiful, and changed ever so subtly by the cast themselves as they get ready for the next track. The clothing is cool and very rock ‘n roll chic. And, most importantly, the musicians manage to make songs that were famous 50 years ago feel relevant and new in today’s modern era. Admittedly, opening night saw a few nervous glances from the cast and the slightest technical glitch that most in the audience wouldn’t have noticed, but by this weekend’s shows all that would have been ironed out. And finally, the encore. Not to ruin it, but I wasn’t weary or feeling small after that performance.
Who’s in it?
It’s an entirely local cast, featuring young musicians who do everything from sing and play the guitar to master the cello or the flute. The musical director, Wessel Odendaal, keeps a low profile during the show, but his expertise can be seen throughout.
The cast is lead by Josh Ansley (runner-up on The Voice SA) on guitar, with Ashleigh Butcher on Banjo/Guitar/Ukelele, Daniel Geddes on Keyboards, Hanna So on Piano/Violin/Cello, Justin Swartz on Guitar/Vocal Percussion, Phindile Dube on Percussion and Sanli Jooste on Cello. The standing ovation at the end had these cast members brimming with pride, to say the least.
Where is it showing?
It’s on at Joburg’s Pieter Toerien theatre until 28 July and the production moves to Cape Town from 1 to 17 August. See it once, or twice in case you missed something the first time. It’s a great night out for the whole family, whether or not they’re die-hard Simon & Garfunkel fans. So, leave the Netflix and vino night for next weekend.
By Features Editor Stephanie van der Plank