Culture clash of note
● Comedic chemistry treat for fans, writes Zamandulo Malonde
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
‘TITANIC’ MOMENT: Centrestage’s new comedy show, ‘Common & Class’, stars Gino Fabbri (Common) and Ian von Memerty (Class)