Review: KEY CHANGE hits all the right notes at Theatre On The Bay

Starring Jonathan Roxmouth with a 5-piece band

By: Mar. 24, 2023
Review: KEY CHANGE hits all the right notes at Theatre On The Bay

I've known for some time now that Jonathon Roxmouth is a great singer. What I didn't know until this week was that he is also brilliant on the piano, and very entertaining as the host of a show. KEY CHANGE has everything - great music and great personality.

Through this show, Roxmouth takes the audience on a journey through the pianists and songwriters who have influenced his life and his musical tastes. We're given Beethoven, we're given Disney, we're given Meat Loaf, and we're even given TV theme tunes. Throughout the piece, Roxmouth let's the audience in on his thoughts and feelings about the different music, as well as who introduced him to the music and why it means so much to him. KEY CHANGE is a deeply personal journey that is highly entertaining and brought to life with humour, sequins and dazzling lights.

First - let's talk about the music. I don't know what I loved the most - the Disney medley that's named Of Mice and Menken or the Meat Loaf medley, called A Steinman Meatloaf. Or maybe it was the ode to Beethoven, which Roxmouth named Pathetic Moonlight @5. While I might not be able to decide which piece I loved the most, I can definitely say that I loved how much fun everyone on stage was having. The five band members were so into the music they were playing, and there was sheer joy on Roxmouth's face as his fingers flew across the keys.

Second - I want to talk about the design of the show. There was a lot of pizzazz and it matched Roxmouth's personality on stage perfectly. Everything was black and white - the instruments, the set, the outfits and even Roxmouth's socks and fingernails. The colour was brought in by a pretty dazzling lighting design by Oliver Hauser - the LED strips around the piano were so camp, I loved them.

If I'm going to get nit-picky, which I can do, I didn't love the little GoPro sitting on the audience side of the piano keys. It was there to record the action on the keys live and project the images onto the backdrop of the stage, which looked great. However, the camera itself was in the way and looked out of place when everything else was so well put together. Yes, that really is my only criticism. The rest I loved.

I was particularly impressed by the fact that for a two-hour show covering an array of different music styles and medleys of songs mashed together, I didn't see a single piece of sheet music in front of Roxmouth. If it was hiding somewhere in the piano, I never would've guessed and bravo for hiding it so well. If that was all done from memory - I am speechless and double bravo.

KEY CHANGE is fun. It's exciting, it's a journey and it's clearly from the heart. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Photo credit: Jaco Botha

KEY CHANGE is on at Theatre on the Bay until 8 April 2023. Tickets are R150 - R270 and available through Click Here or the Theatre On The Bay box-office (021) 438-3301.


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