BAXTER THEATRE May 4TH 2013
Life does not often provide us with a chance at a second opportunity so when one does present itself, we would be crazy not to take it. So here is your second chance to see Bovim Ballet’s Private Presley if you missed it in March or even if you saw it then and so know well the delights that it contains.
It is back and better than ever--in my previous review of the show, I mentioned some technical hitches with scenery changes---they have efficiently been dealt with and all is smooth on that front. Now we can relax and enjoy the innovative and entertaining way that the one scene flows into another.
The cast is obviously now more relaxed and into the vibe so the energy in the first half is now bubbly and infectious. An honourable mention for sheer vivacity and facial expression goes to Zandile Constance who was totally delightful in every scene. The more intimate setting of the Baxter Theatre allowed the audience to get a closer look at all the faces and expressions of the dancers and so revealed those who not only can perform the choreography but who can bring personality and different dynamics to each scene. Another expert at this is Michelle La Trobe whose face always tells the story so eloquently.
A second viewing of this show revealed new gems for me—probably the most appealing scene was the beautifully limpid and lyrical pas de deux with Faye Dubinski and Grant Van Ster which provided such a contrast to the up tempo numbers. The joy of experiencing such scenes as the drive-in, the road trip quartet, the GI Blues and the Jailhouse Rock continues unabated and the audience can only be thoroughly entertained by the professionalism, sheer hard work, sense of the comic and group dynamics of the performers.
Devon Marshbank both in his full size and his puppet version of Elvis is consistently a pleasure to watch and my pleasure was heightened by the fact that I was seated next to proud gran Gwen and mom Moira—legendary dance teachers and performers themselves so Devon is continuing in this proud family tradition.
In the interests of being objective, I do have to mention two mishaps on stage which proves that even professionals can have them. The dancers involved will only be too well aware of these and something like this can only keep them better focused for future performances.
One more little quibble is the use and unfortunately the overuse of the choreographic device of the cannon. Bovim will move one couple into position, then the other then the other and then the movement will come back through the couples one at a time. It happens so often that I cannot decide whether this is satisfying or irritating!
It was interesting to see new dancers in the two lead roles and they acquitted themselves well. Trevor Schoonraad as Presley and Nicola Van der Merwe as Priscilla were technically proficient and are both appealing dancers. However Elvis Presley was such a larger than life personality and we all have such vivid memories of his swagger and his hip movements that it is almost impossible to measure up to this image. So though Schoonraad’s dance ability and his physique, (revealed in all its splendour in the bedroom scene), far exceeds that of Presley, both he and Henk Opperman in the previous show does not quite convince as this legendary figure.
All in all, this show comes highly recommended and is a marvellous antidote to this chilly winter weather. You will spend two hours rocking and rolling to the much loved music and carry the warmth of the performances out of the Baxter with you. We must thank Bovim for responding to the public’s demand for more and the best way to do this will be to get to this show.
So if you are Lonesome Tonight, put on your Blue Suede Shoes, grab your Teddy Bear, do not wait for the Blue Moon, try not to be the Devil In Disguise because it is Now or Never so spend One Night and you will find that you Can’t Help Falling In Love with Private Presley and friends!
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