Cul­ture clash of note

● Comedic chem­istry treat for fans, writes Za­man­dulo Malonde

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Arts & Entertainment -

A clash of cul­ture and per­son­al­ity merges fit­tingly in a comedic new mu­si­cal show that in­cor­po­rates two of the Bay’s fun­ni­est stage per­son­al­i­ties, guar­an­tee­ing Port El­iz­a­beth’s the­atre lovers a hi­lar­i­ous night out.

In their first of more col­lab­o­ra­tions to come, sea­soned en­ter­tain­ers Ian von Me­merty and Gino Fab­bri of­fer Bay the­atre fans roughly two hours of laugh­ter and en­ter­tain­ment in Com­mon & Class , which show­cases char­ac­ters who are worlds apart.

While the two en­ter­tain­ers have been fans of each other’s work for a long time, the idea to work to­gether first man­i­fested when they dis­cov­ered their comedic chem­istry ear­lier in 2018 while per­form­ing an El­ton John trib­ute in Cape Town.

“We should have done it ages ago but the tim­ing was never right and he [Von Me­merty] was such a hor­ri­ble guy and so full of him­self that I thought I could never work with him,” Fab­bri joked.

“The truth is that he phoned me cry­ing and beg­ging me to work with him and help him learn,” Von Me­merty hit back.

Con­stantly tak­ing hu­mor­ous jabs at one an­other is the na­ture of the duo’s friend­ship on and off stage, which al­lows for hon­esty and hu­mil­ity be­tween the two.

Fab­bri and Von Me­merty have in­di­vid­u­ally made waves through their ver­sa­tile ca­reers. While they are both sea­soned per­form­ers, they note their per­for­mances have al­ways been com­pletely dif­fer­ent but some- how fit in well to­gether in Com­mon & Class .

“Un­like me, Ian’s forte is di­rect­ing, so his shows are al­ways well struc­tured and scripted while my shows are just get-upand-do, so I’ve had to learn a lot,” Fab­bri said.

“I’ve learnt things as well, be­cause Gino has this abil­ity to turn on a char­ac­ter straight away, and he re­ally in­hab­its it in­stantly and it’s been lovely for me to ex­plore that side of me,” Von Me­merty said.

As Fab­bri shows off his im­pres­sive drum­ming and gui­tar ex­per­tise, Von Me­merty tack­les the pi­ano with skill and to­gether they take the au­di­ence on a wild ride through act­ing, mim­ing, drag­ging, sing­ing, beat-boxing and var­i­ous other el­e­ments.

The two play dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters who do not see eye to eye on many oc­ca­sions.

As his name sug­gests, Class (Von Me­merty) is an elo­quent and so­phis­ti­cated char­ac­ter who finds the coun­try mu­sic predilec­tion and mo­ronic be­hav­iour of Com­mon (Fab­bri) quite in­el­e­gant!

While the two hu­mor­ously por­tray op­po­site char­ac­ters on stage, they have a smooth and re­spect­ful work­ing re­la­tion­ship be­hind the scenes and are able to com­mu­ni­cate openly, hence their first col­lab­o­ra­tion’s three pre­view shows were all sold out.

“There is very lit­tle ego be­tween us and maybe that’s be­cause we’re both ex­pe­ri­enced at what we do and re­alise that we’re not al­ways right,” Von Me­merty said.

“We’re able to speak openly and tell each other to bug­ger off and that’s how we work well to­gether,” Fab­bri quipped.

Their be­hind-the-scenes re­la­tion­ship al­lows for things to run smoothly on stage.

“I re­alised I needed to know both our scripts so that when he gets cre­ative and does not fol­low the script, I can catch up when he de­cides to come back to it,” Von Me­merty said.

The duo, who con­fess they find each other hi­lar­i­ous, said the show took five weeks to per­fect and they were op­ti­mistic it would be well re­ceived.

Fab­bri and Von Me­merty worked closely with Cen­trestage’s Gary Hem­mings on the pro­duc­tion.

● Com­mon & Class is at the Hel­lenic Hall from September 19 to 21 at 7.30pm with a 2pm mati­nee and the last show at 8pm on September 22. Tick­ets cost from R110 to R160 at Com­puticket.

Con­stantly tak­ing hu­mor­ous jabs at one an­other is the na­ture of the duo’s friend­ship on and off stage, which al­lows for hon­esty and hu­mil­ity

Pho­to­graph: EU­GENE COET­ZEE

‘TI­TANIC’ MO­MENT: Cen­trestage’s new com­edy show, ‘Com­mon & Class’, stars Gino Fab­bri (Com­mon) and Ian von Me­merty (Class)

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