Oh Theatre on the Bay, you beauty... When we walk in on an opening night and see the smiling faces of the amazing Mr T team, we just feel like we are home. Comfortable and inviting but still oh-so-chic and fabulous, that is our beloved Theatre on the Bay. Many a memory has been made here, and the opening night of Fantastic 50 on Thursday 2 July, 2015 was no exception.
This show sees Ian and Viv von Memerty who are both celebrating their 50th birthdays, sing and dance you through their 25 years of life together. Hearing them share their memories, you’re given a glimpse of the interesting ride these two very strong and inspirational people have been on. The fact that Ian is undoubtedly ‘Mr Showbiz’ is evident from the moment the follow spot finds him on stage. His stage presence can only be described as ‘charismatic’.
With a performance CV that would make the most legendary SA artists jealous, he however still remains sincere in that which he gives to the audience. In Fantastic 50, that is definitely his all and then some! He gives so much of himself; the show literally leaves him and the audience breathless.
Viv matches him step for step. She definitely dazzles, to the envy of all women whether in their twenties or fifties, in figure-hugging outfits that are to die for! Ian may out-sing Viv during some numbers, but she more than makes up for it with her fancy footwork, giving her husband a run for his money. Though a few of the songs may well have been out of Viv’s vocal range and comfort zone, we truly commend her for making such a valiant effort to perform them.
While Ian is undeniably a good dancer, Viv is mesmerizingly great. You won’t be able to take your eyes off of her as she becomes one with the music. Together they strike the perfect balance and are truly the perfect match, a sure-fire recipe for a magical theatre experience.
Set design and costumes play such an important role in setting the mood and tone for a production and Fantastic 50’s doesn’t disappoint! A rainbow of lighting colours moves us swiftly between Ian’s evolution from farm boy to nation-wide renowned entertainer and Viv’s self-discovery from frustrated stay-at-home mom to trail-blazing pilot-in-training with wondrous effect.
What would a dance musical show be without sequinned costumes and (Theatre Scene blue) feather boas? In Fantastic 50, there certainly isn’t a shortage of these must-have items, but we found Viv’s dresses to be a true feast for the eyes. Be on the lookout for the breath-taking pink flowing number at the end of Act One and the multi-layered sparkly outfit in the finale performance, which would give every magician’s assistant performing multiple changes on stage dress envy for sure.
One of our favourite moments of the show was the personal touch and spin Ian and Viv put on the musical classic ‘My Favourite Things’ from the iconic musical, The Sound of Music. Equally captivating to see is the pair busting some funky moves to some Michael Jackson tunes, which had us involuntarily tapping our feet to the beat.
The added bonus of a surprise performance by their teenage daughter really gives this show a very unique and intimate feel. A yearning for the spotlight and musical talent runs in this family, that’s for certain.
You’ll walk out after the show feeling like you’ve just had a catch-up with old friends. What really makes this a must see show, though, is the bare-faced honesty of it all: the raw emotion, the reality, the life journey, but more importantly the hope! And gosh, it is fantastic too!
This is the type of show that leaves your soul feeling alive and rejuvenated, even if you did not so subtly wipe away more than a few tears at times. We would definitely recommend you book your tickets ASAP as there are just eleven shows left before this fabulous family jets off on their next show-time adventure.
Thank you for a fantastic evening Von Memerty family! Please visit Cape Town again soon.
Want to see Fantastic 50? Of course you do! Book your tickets at Computicket before Fantastic 50’s limited run ends on Sunday 12 July, 2015. Tickets range from R100 and R170, and there really isn't a bad seat in Theatre on the Bay so just choose one already.
Big thanks too to Paul Lötter of Computicket for these amazing opening night shots that capture the magic, glamour, laughter and love of the dynamic Von Memerty duo perfectly!