Review: LAMTA’s Come Together/The Beatles Covered /Uncovered is a dance and theatrical sensation – a sizzler of a show
|COME TOGETHER – The Beatles Covered /Uncovered- dance production -presented by LAMTA|
Where: Theatre on The Bay, Camps Bay, Cape Town
When: June 15 to 25, 20222. Shows are at 8pm and there are two shows on some days – 4pm as well as 8pm
Tickets: R250. For student groups of ten or more, tickets are R150
Bookings: Through Computicket or contact Ingrid via e-mail email@example.com or mobile 083 273 8284
Production credits: See https://thecaperobyn.co.za/preview-lamtas-come-together-the-beatles-covered-uncovered-exuberant-energetic-and-entertaining-dance-production/
In its media release for Come Together/The Beatles Covered /Uncovered, LAMTA describes the show as an “exuberant, energetic, and entertaining dance production”. Exuberant is the tip of this sensational production. It is way more than a “dance production,” set to the music of The Fab Four. It is way more than a tribute show. It is a sizzler of a show. LAMTA has commissioned original choreography by renowned choreographers, such as Michelle Reid, Jared Schaedler, Hope Maimane, Natalie Fisher, Robyn van Wyk, Brigitte Reeve Taylor, Ashley Searle, Duane Alexander, Ananda Fuchs and dance collective, The Figure 8 Collective. The choreographers configured the dance sequence to covers of Beatles’ songs. Directors-Duane Alexander and Anton Luitingh of LAMTA- have woven it all together– working with the design team (lighting by Faheem Bardien and costumes by Frankie van Straaten). Conceptually, this show pivots around the uncovering and unpacking the Beatles’ Songbook – themes, images, ideas – using covers by other artists. Some of the covers are well known – such as Frank Sinatra and others may be obscure to the average person. Each cover is magic and is an interpretation by that singer. Each dance is constructed around a song. In between, there is archival footage of the Beatles talking about themselves, their work, relationships. We see others chipping in. We see the Beatles revealing themselves in interviews and then we see the reveal through body and movement in each song, performed by the LAMTA students. The show took my breath away. This is a musical theatre academy but it feels like it is a professional company.
The current cohort features a particularly strong male contingent of dancers. I could not believe that they are students. It was as if we were back, watching a Broadway or West End Musical, with demanding athletic choreography. I think of Chicago – the Musical and I can see this group of dancers, nailing it – physically – getting the hoists and what-what – and acing the acting that is required. I was bowled over by Figure of 8 Dance Collective’s choreography of Because (covered by Elliott Smith). Using a chaise longue /couch (whatever you want to call it) as prop, stage, lever, an elegiac and breathtakingly beautiful dance story unfolds in front of us. This is complex choreography, requiring intense concentration to pull it off in terms of getting the moves and then to layer the dance with the yearning, longing in Because – well – it’s extraordinary.
I was transfixed by, Eleanor Rigby (covered by Cody Fry), tenderly and poignantly choreographed by Duane Alexander and the cast and again this is an evocation of the sadness of this song- “all the lonely people” and this woman who “died in the church” and “was buried along with her name”. Another meditative song which made my jaw drop is Yesterday (covered by Frank Sinatra). It has been choreographed by Anna Olivier and Naoline Quinzin. They are students at LAMTA. It is a highly considered dance piece and is also beautifully rendered with exquisite use of gesture and body work.
The Beatles created story songs- often inspired by real people and events. Eleanor Rigby was a real person (she was a scullery maid who died, age 44, in 1939). The Beatles had seen her headstone and that was the genesis of the song. Their songs were laments, tributes, celebrations and increasingly protests about their outrage about the world around them and power seekers and influencers in their midst (and that was before social media and “influencers” and the ilk). The Beatles were always searching for love acceptance, family, friendship, identity, belonging. Each song in this show, evokes a vivid story, framed by the archival footage.
Come Together/The Beatles Covered /Uncovered has the potential to be developed into fully fledged dance-musical. In my opinion, it would be a be pity for this show, with its original choreography and spectacular dance to be a one-off. The show is imbued with references to musical theatre, films (Cabaret, All that Jazz etc) and at the core it conjures up the magical mystical journey of the Fab Four, with music which is timeless and relatable. It would be great to see LAMTA establish a company arm, to operate in tandem with the academy. This is an astounding piece of musical-dance theatre. Do not miss.
✳Featured image: The Beatles- Because (covered by Elliott Smith): Choreographed by Figure of 8 Dance Collective. LAMTA’s Come Together/The Beatles Covered /Uncovered- dance production -set to music of the Fab Four- on at Theatre on the Bay – June 15- 25, 2022. Photo: Gustav Klotz. Photos supplied.