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SCENE IT: LAMTA triple threats keep great company

Barbara Loots


On Friday my heart did a happy dance thrice over as it was completely entranced by the performances in the LAMTA presented BEING STEVE, onstage at Theatre on the Bay until 26 November 2022.

What do Sondheim, Schwartz and Flaherty have in common? They all wrote exquisite musicals! In BEINGS STEVE their creations are celebrated as a production that showcases the caliber of (as well as trust the directors, Duane Alexander and Anton Luitingh, have in) the LAMTA students.

The three Steves honoured by this show, Stephen Flaherty, Stephen Sondheim and Steven Schwartz, have all had illustrious theatre careers, with their works performed on stages around the world. The mere fact that the LAMTA students have the talent and skill to take on their most beautiful yet difficult musical hits is already reason to purchase your tickets to this show immediately.

From the start of the show the charm of the production is set to high with Chloë Howes’ performance of Flaherty’s “Crime of the Century” from RAGTIME, as supported by the talented LAMTA company, who as a troupe sound as if they have been performing together professionally for years.

South African musical lovers who have always dreamed of seeing Schwartz’s WICKED can now sample a bit of that magic in BEING STEVE too, as it includes “For Good”, “What Is This Feeling” and “As Long As You’re Mine”, all performed with great flair and attitude to the delight of the audience. All three WICKED snippets are utterly captivating.

Although I love the works of Flaherty and Schwartz, and find myself listening to their musical scores often, my musical heart truly belongs to Sondheim. The dramatically disruptive tempo and tone, yet utterly harmonic nuance, of Sondheim’s songs have left many performers breathless and sometimes broken, as acing his songs is the musical equivalent of an A+ in physics for a rocket scientist. Lore has it that Sondheim intentionally tried to make his music difficult for vocalists, but the truth is rather that the difficulty is the tradeoff for the beauty and genius of his music that makes his style so utterly distinguishable from any other: His songs require extensive range and the capability to keep up with rapid melodies and exquisite alliteration.

One such masterpiece is “Everybody Loves Louis” from SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, which Léa Blerk beautifully performs with skill, spunk and restraint. Similarly, impressive is Leah Mari’s performance of “Being Alive” from COMPANY, a musical Angela Lansbury described as a benchmark for any great performer. In fact, the press night saw the stars of the female vocalists shine very brightly all round!

A stand-out performance, as far as the male vocalists, is definitely that of Tumelo Magoshoa. His rendition of the Sondheim favourite “Cool” from WEST SIDE STORY is spirited and reveals that he has great stage presence. Another such an impressive performance is delivered by Robert Everson as he charms with Flaherty’s “My Petersburg” from ANASTASIA.

The full LAMTA company also gifts the audience with many goosebumps inducing moments, with their performance of Sondheim’s “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” from SWEENEY TODD, the “Finale” from INTO THE WOODS, and “Our Time” from MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG”.

And it is indeed their time, as the students of LAMTA are ready to make their mark in the theatre industry, with many already on par with professional performers who have for years taken on songs by the legendary Steves.

A huge congratulations to all involved in the creation of BEING STEVE, another LAMTA hit. You have until 26 November 2022 to see BEING STEVE at Theatre on the Bay, with tickets available through Computicket.


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