CHRISTINE AND THE KILTS. With Christine Weir (vocals), Rayelle Goodman (fiddle player), Leon Oosthuizen (accordion player), Matthew Weir (bassist), Duncan Robinson (acoustic guitarist) and Skhumbuzo Qamata (percussion). Staging and Choreography: Fiona du Plooy. Masque Theatre.
KAREN RUTTER reviews
Christine Weir has a self-confessed crush on all things Celtic, which isn’t surprising considering she was born in Scotland. She may have moved here to South Africa when she was five, but her obvious love for the stories and music of her ancestry come through clearly in her show Christine and the Kilts.
The production is a two-act tribute to mainly traditional Celtic music (plus the occasional modern, or original, composition in the mix). Performed by five instrumentalists with Weir on lead vocals, the tone of the show moves from the more sombre to the gaily upbeat, much of the material reflecting on Scottish as well as Irish socio-historic moments. And that’s what makes Christine and the Kilts interesting – the snippets of the past lovingly retold by Weir, be they about the potato blight or a plough boy, that provide both context and inspiration for the material being performed.
What also adds to the show’s spark is the enjoyment of its musical cast. Weir’s strong, distinctive vocals are backed up nicely by an enthusiastic team including Leon Oosthuizen (an admirably accomplished accordion player), Matthew Weir (a solid bassist), and Duncan Robinson (an equally capable guitarist). All three also provided great vocal harmonies. And Skhumbuzo Qamata provided sweet accompaniment on percussion (including rain stick and djembe drum). But if one had to single out somebody who holds it all together it would have to be violinist Rayelle Goodman, a consummate professional who raised the standard of the arrangements and provided flawless melody lines, both in backing and solo spots.
The material included work by poet Rabbie Burns and plenty of traditional Scottish and Irish tunes, as well as “pop” songs like Mull of Kintyre. With numbers like Danny Boy and Charlie is my Darling also on the programme, there’s bound to be at least one song you’ll recognise. The audience around me on opening night clearly knew a lot more than one, and joined in keenly.
A fun night out, with a great team of performers.
What: Christine and the Kilts
When: Masque Theatre from 27 December 2018 to 5 January 2019
Book: Computicket or 021 788 1898