Fantastic 50 is a family-run show starring husband-and-wife team Ian and Viv von Memerty. Fifteen-year-old daughter, Kasvia, also makes a guest appearance in the show. This confident young lady was a breath of fresh air on opening night and it was a delight to watch her brief contribution.
Ian von Memerty has been in show business for many years and is known for his role as a judge in Strictly Come Dancing. I knew Ian from his piano-playing antics in A Handful of Keys, a very entertaining piece of musical theatre. Vivienne is a ballroom dancer and at 50 is a beautiful, graceful and composed woman.
The show is essentially the story of this couple’s lives, from Ian’s early days in show business, the pair’s enjoyment of travel, Vivienne’s foray into helicopter flying, their children’s tragic struggle for health, to a renewed sense of love for each other after marital and health difficulties. Singing, dancing, narrating, changing costumes (both off stage and on!) and Ian’s consummate piano playing make up this well-rehearsed revue.
Laced with humour about marriage and ageing the show will appeal largely to a select “mature” audience, and yet has the potential to attract a wider audience of families and dance lovers. I say “potential” because the show lacks the vivaciousness its title promises. On opening night Ian looked tired. And, whilst good as a backup singer, Viv’s solo singing detracts from the polish of her dance performance. Fantastic 50 seems to major on the “50” in a show that could be “fantastic”.
Fantastic 50 is on at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban at 7.30pm daily until 22 November. Contact Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or www.computicket.com.