YOUR SONG, onstage at Theatre on the Bay until 21 May 2022, pays tribute to the life and impact of Elton John through the essence of his songs. It showcases the phenomenal vocals of Anton Luitingh, Amy Campbell, and Tshepo Ncokoane.
YOUR SONG sells itself as a ‘typical’ revue show that changes its spots mid-performance in a tongue-in-cheek attempt to both celebrate the music of the legend that is Elton John, while challenging the audience to engage with the question of his relevance. It does this through the varying perspectives of two millennials and a slightly older musical theatre star who himself has idealised Elton John since childhood.
Although the script, which provides the segue between musical moments, at times comes across as slightly contrived in its effort to incorporate deep contemplation while maintaining cattily cutesy banter between the performers, the appreciation for YOUR SONG lies in the simplicity of the show: the charm found in three voices and a piano.
It’s the songs of Elton John that lure you to this show and Anton Luitingh, Amy Campbell, and Tshepo Ncokoane truly engage with his musical vision through their top-notch vocal performances. The harmonies and the arrangements by Luitingh are impressive; these add a vibrancy to the songs that he, along with the talented Ncokoane and Campbell, so beautifully lean into. Together their vocals bring admiration and contemplation to Elton John’s most beloved, and some more obscure, songs. They take you on a journey of the legend’s life through a mixture of ballads, reimagined classics (as per cover versions by acclaimed performers like Sara Bareilles), and foot-stomping rocking numbers that most everyone will recognise – here’s looking at you ‘Bennie and the Jets’.
The show’s design, by Niall Griffin, is exquisite. The dressing of this production (in all its various forms and facets) reveals a vision that aims to amplify the musical journey. The set, paired with the elegant lighting design, gives you a concert stadium feeling without losing the intimacy that one associates with a revue show. The lights subtly change and play along with the performers in tune with the mood of every song: one such example is with the performance of ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’ when the lights create a beautiful impression of movement which reminds of a rock concert audience waving lighters to-and-fro.
Whether you love Elton John’s music or simply appreciate a good musical performance, YOUR SONG will appeal to you in some way as it plays into that well-known feeling of revue nostalgia. For me, that feeling was immediately triggered when Luitingh took his seat at the piano and opened the show with ‘Song for Guy’ … my favourite of the legend.
You have until 21 May 2022 to see YOUR SONG at Theatre on the Bay. Tickets are available online through Computicket.