Last night I attended Fine Music Radio’s 10th birthday cabaret, which was held in the chandelier Foyer of the Artscape complex on the foreshore. It’s an interesting venue – a mixture of ’70s chic and airport arrival hall modern, finished in shades of brown and orange. The chandeliers, which look vaguely like escapee stalactites from the Kango Caves, hover ominously overhead. I understand that the recent plans to remodel were abandoned when every interior designer they brought in to quote on the job suffered a nervous breakdown.
The show had many highlights: Pianist Ken Higgins did his own take on Victor Borge by performing Bobbejaan Klim Die Berg* in the musical styles of Beethoven, Chopin, Johann Strauss and Mozart. Aisle-rollingly funny for those who appreciate classical music. Quite the opposite for those who don’t. There were couple of dance numbers which I didn’t get at all. The first dance appeared to be two curtains copulating to music, while the second seemed like a scene cut from the Rocky Horror Show: Frank N. Furter trying to give Magenta an Atomic Wedgie. Not a pretty sight, let me tell you, but judging by the thunderous applause, my view went against the tide of popular opinion.
The Male Voice Choir was rather fun, too. The choir is largely made up of cadaverous old duffers who look like they’ve been dug up specially for the occasion (in this case, The Night Of The Singing Dead). They sang a very upbeat version of Rhythm of Life, which was deliciously ironic, considering the fact that half of them looked like they were on the brink of coronary meltdown. Fortunately, they all survived, so we didn’t have to suffer the embarrassing ‘paramedics removing the body from the stage’ situation, which puts a serious damper on any show.
The main lowlight for me was when Thomas Rajna played one of his own piano compositions. Mr Rajna can be described as a composer of note, but only if that note is the sound a fingernail makes on a blackboard. His music is an acquired taste and I don’t think I am going to acquire it any time soon. The capriccio he selected to play for us bore a striking similarity to a cat with it’s bum on fire having a seizure on the piano keyboard – a painful experience for all concerned. I blame his mother. If she had slanted her style of encouragement away from “That’s lovely, Tommy” and towards “Stop making that godawful noise!”, I believe the world of music would be a far, far happier place. My ears are still ringing.
* For our international readers: it’s a South African children’s song that translates as ‘Mr Baboon climbs the mountain’.