Every seat was packed and every patron was having a good time at the performance of Hats Off! which I attended. I certainly loved it!
Flanders and Swann were a British comedy duo, school mates who first worked together for a school production in 1939 and again in 1940. After school, during the war they lost touch with one another, but met up by chance again in 1948. Their careers became linked and by 1956 they were a duo. They wrote over 100 songs, Flanders providing the words and Swann the music. Even after their working association formally ended in 1967 they occasionally worked together thereafter, and they remained life long friends.
Jonathan Roxmouth and Louis Zurnamer both play the piano and they both sing, but for the most part Roxmouth dominates the stage, both by his physical presence and by his undeniable charisma. The fifties set and the hats are positively delightful, but even if the stage had been bare and the actors in jeans and t-shirts, their energy, passion and talent would have carried the day.
Directed by Alan Swerdlow, the British humour takes on the occasional South African flavour. The Warthog is an Afrikaans ‘meisie’ and Mozart’s Horn Concerto bedazzles us with a vuvuzela. Those are not the only two local touches, but why spoil the other surprises?
The humour is British nonsense of the family variety, suitable for maiden aunts, vicars and anyone you wouldn’t want to offend. A rare treat.
Now when I say that this is a wonderful evening out, I am being very sincere. It was, after all, Flanders himself who said: “Always be sincere, whether you mean it or not!”
Hats Off! can be seen at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, upstairs in The Studio until 2 June 2013. Sadly there is no disabled access to the Studio Theatre.