ANYONE who believes that Cape Town City Ballet's third production in its festive season offering is old hat can think again. Night and Day, a tribute to Cole Porter , was a crowd-pleaser at its first showing on December 31, 2010 , which prompted a tour to Durban and Johannesburg and repeat performances at Artscape and Maynardville Open-Air Theatre in Cape Town . At that time, it was a worthy attempt at musical theatre - this time it's an outright hit. In this, CTCB's 80th anniversary year, esteemed Hamburg Ballet director John Neumeier reminds us that for ballet to be kept alive it must be seen. The magic is in the immediate performance, rather than the archive. Night and Day saw in the new year again with a sold-out performance - and just three shows remain this week, on Wednesday at 7.30pm and on Saturday at 2pm and 7.30pm . The Artscape Theatre is the ideal venue for this type of showbiz spectacle. It sparkles from beginning to end, with Johnny Bovang demonstrating just the right degree of gravitas as Cole Porter in the performance I attended. Known for his technical skill and dramatic interpretation, he is in his element. What's special about this production, given that you're a fan of Porter's Broadway -style music and lyrics, is that the cast now measures up. They were competent, now confident and composed, nailing most numbers with panache. The recordings have been improved, the choreography's tighter, the dancing's more dynamic. New partnerships have gelled and pairings show promise. Night and Day has all the elements of great musical theatre - good-looking dancers, beautiful costumes, lovely sets and great music, including live accompaniment on clarinet by Jesse Williams . Porter's catchy tunes and romantic songs, which dominated the American musical scene from the 1930s to the 1950s, have inspired covers by Ella Fitzgerald , Frank Sinatra , Robbie Williams , Michael BublÉ and Alanis Morissette , among others. Many comprise the classics of the ballroom scene, from foxtrots to rumbas and cha-chas. This ballet incorporates jazz, tap and cabaret, which all require a certain amount of personality in delivery. Jesse Milligan , Laura Bosenberg , Elizabeth Nienaber and Ford shine in this regard, perfectly capturing the mood. Thorne is charismatic as Nijinsky in Rose Dance while Daniel Szybkowski and Angela Hansford glide through I Get a Kick Out of You. Meanwhile, Laura Bosenberg and Ivan Boonzaaier's interpretation of Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love makes it an audience favourite. Just One of Those Things was another highlight. Night and Day is an uplifting start to the new year and bodes well for more great things to come in this auspicious CTCB year. l You can catch Night and Day at Artscape Theatre on Wednesday at 7.30pm or Saturday at 2pm or 7.30pm . Tickets are from R150 to R175. Next up is CTCB's Maynardville season featuring Firebird and Les Sylphides every Sunday from January 19 to February 16 . Tickets are from R110 to R130. To book, call Computicket at 0861 915 8000, or Artscape-Dial-a-Seat at 021 421 7695. Cape Times
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