SHOW BOAT: Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein based on the book by Edna Ferber
Cape Town Opera on Tour
Runs: 2h 45m, one interval. Touring UK till
Tour till 02 08 (Details below)
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, Birmingham Hippodrome 02 07 14
A marvellous cruise, as good as it gets.
This is a lovely production of Jerome Kern’s and Oscar Hammerstein’s iconic work – the show lives, breathes, laughs and sings in rude good health.
In 1927 the music theatre world changed – SHOW BOAT was born. That the show gave us a host of songs that would become classics is important enough – MAKE BELIEVE, JUST CAN’T HELP LOVIN’ DAT MAN OF MINE, and of course, OL’ MAN RIVER among them. But it’s the show’s themes – racism, gambling, alcoholism – that changed things for ever. It was also the first show on Broadway to have a fully integrated cast.
No surprise then that Cape Town Opera, who recently brought us PORGY AND BESS, now turns its attention to SHOW BOAT. And it’s a glorious success.
The narrative is all important. In CTO’s telling it’s genuinely moving and the emergence of the racist marriage laws hits us like a shocking slap around the face. It is true that there’s a clear social divide between the black have-nots and the white haves, but a drama must reflect its times – and this divide is part of the theme too. There is a genuine feeling of mutual support between the characters, however, which is thematically important, and even more so, the strong, warm feeling of ensemble playing. There can be no doubt where SHOW BOAT’s heart is.
And the voices are marvellous. Magdalene Minnaar and Blake Fischer (Magnolia and Gaylord Revenal) bring a fine natural quality to their singing and their duets are a dream. Otto Maidi performs OL’ MAN RIVER about as well as you’ll ever get it. Graham Hopkins’s delightful creation of Captain Andy is definitely worth a mention.
This is a great show in a fine, fine production.
Steve: Stephen Jubber
Pete: Jaco Muller
Queenie: Nobuntu Mpahlaza
Windy / Jim: Graham Clarke
Captain Andy: Graham Hopkins
Parthy: Anthea Thompson
Julie: Angel Kerrison / Lynelle Kenned
Ellie: Catherine Daymond
Frank: Brandon Lindsay
Gaylord Ravenal: Blake Fischer / Tim Walton
Sheriff / Max: Adrian Galley
Magnolia: Magdalene Minnaar / Robin Botha
Joe: Otto Maidi / Paul Madibeng
Backwoodsman: Alex Tops
Landlady: Shelley Adriaanzen
Jake: Stefan Lombardi / Rob Thorne
Kim: Claitlin Clerk
Endsemble Dancers and Chorus: James Bradley, Shelley Adriaanzen, Vanessa Brierley, Magaliso Bonngo, Nokwanda Boyvana, Delray Burns, Akhona Dudumashe, Devon Flemmer, Shanny Foourie, Nurit Graff, Lungile Halam, Rikus Kok, Michele La Trobe, Slovo Magida, Siyasanga Mbuyazwe, Ciko Mema, Jaco Muller, Lula Nqadini, Linda Ntebe, Tukela Pepeteka, Lilitha Peter, Zolam Shangase, Portia Shwana, Naluthando Sishuaba, Dionne Song, Victoria Stevens, Xolani Tabhane, Michael Wallace, Faith Zungu
Birmingham Hippodrome – 02.07 – 05.07
Lowry, Manchester – 08.07 – 12.07
Wales Millennium, Cardiff – 22.07 – 26.07
Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin – 29.07 – 02.08