The hugely successful musical revue A Handful of Keys is making a turn in the Bay this week.
Launched in 1994 as a co-creation between Ian von Memerty, who now lives in Port Elizabeth, and Bryan Schimmel, the show has played to more than 420000 people in more than 1450 performances over the last 23 years.
Multiple awards, accolades from the critics and adulation from audiences have poured in for this “brilliant, hilarious and virtuoso celebration of the piano”, to be staged at the PE Opera House from Wednesday, October 25 to Saturday, October 28.
This clever and very entertaining show keeps delivering surprises year after year, from piano pyrotechnics to inspiring inventiveness – and has been billed as “a two-hour fireworks display of excitement, energy and sheer, mind-blowing talent”.
Audiences can still expect highlights such as The Complete History of The Broadway Musical in 12 Minutes, Liberace, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Funeral for A Friend and the SA Medley, but new material has also been included.
The talents behind this edition are Roelof Colyn, a Handful stalwart since 2001, who is known for his effortless charm, deadpan wit and the liquid magic of his playing.
He is joined by James Smith, aged just 19 and the youngest person yet to appear in A Handful of Keys.
“It is a risk putting such a young person into a show as complicated and subtle as [this], but I believe that James, with his unique mix of musicality, quirky humour and the beautiful timbre of his expressive voice, is up to the challenge,” said Von Memerty, who has expanded and developed the show since 1997, and is also its director.
Before this, Smith, a former Westering High School pupil, had only appeared in amateur productions including a G&S revival of The Pirates of Penzance, where he performed alongside Von Memerty’s daughter Kasvia.
“Ian saw me in the production and thought I had some potential,” Smith said.
The PE run is from Wednesday to Saturday, October 25-28, with shows nightly at 7.30pm. There is also a 3pm matinee next Saturday.
Tickets range from R100 to R145 and are available from Computicket.