There’s something tremendously sexy about men sporting dapper suits, chic hats and slightly menacing sunglasses.
That natty style can give the dowdiest man an air of je ne sais quoi and set a maiden’s heart a-flutter. Gangsters have always known that, and if I remember rightly, the original Blues Brothers movie was all about a couple of loveable criminals who take their band on tour to raise money for the orphanage where they were raised.
The stage version now rocking Sandton’s Theatre on the Square has done away with the plot entirely but kept the music and the snappy dressing, and the result is a surprisingly entertaining show. Watching nothing but old songs interspersed with a couple of quips sounds like a pretty dull cabaret, but Johan Baird as Jake Blues and Alwyn Kotze as his brother Elwood are red hot.
The show is enormous fun largely because of the fabulous choreography by Quintus Jansen. It’s slick and funny, and watching the brothers perform simultaneous dance routines with their seemingly elastic legs inevitably sets you laughing.
There’s plenty of deadpan humour in the banter between their songs, and when they blast into old classics like “I Feel Good” everybody in the theatre can’t help feeling good with them. One of the highlights is a mickey-taking version of that old Rolf Harris hit “Two Little Boys.” Anyone who can sing that and still come out looking cool is packing some serious talent.
A full six-piece band is playing behind them and the Bluettes backing singers add brilliant support. The Bluettes also get great chances to shine themselves, with debonair Tshepi Magabo giving a great rendition of “Minnie The Moocher”. Crushanda Forbes and pouty, sultry Lebo Keke also get plenty of time in the limelight, varying the pace and the song selection to add diversity to the evening.
It’s obviously Baird and Kotze who are the stars of the show, and they’re pure entertainment. Stylish, funny, superb dancers and great singers too, as they belt out classics like Jailhouse Rock and Soul Man.
The band keep it all pumping nicely, the lighting is spot on, and the whole rollicking show has a feel-good factor that makes a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
The Blues Brothers runs at the Theatre on the Square until October 25.