I had high hopes from respected SA muso Mel Botes’ latest production, having heard only rave reviews about his tribute to Pink Floyd last year. This new project, David’s Confession, is based on the concept album About Time which Botes collaborated on with rock band Georgia. It’s a futuristic story that uses music and images as well as voiced-over narration.
The ‘David’ of the title is a composer who learns one day, in true hard rock fashion, that the beautiful pieces he dreams up are actually being fed to him by Satan. Needless to say old Lucifer is planning a little light world domination and is using David’s music as a vehicle for subliminal messaging.
Musically the show is top notch. Together with the band, Botes had us toe-tapping and clapping along, even if we didn’t really get it. And unfortunately that was a problem. As a sci-fi fan there’s nothing much I’m not open to, but the way in which the story is executed left me feeling somewhat baffled, and there were too many dots I had to try and connect on my own.
This was due not least to the projected visuals. These images – supposed to help anchor the story line – were poorly sourced and repeated ad nauseam. I’ve since learned that we were viewing a work in progress, and various commissioned artists are still at work with their interpretative works for the show.
Quizzical looks aside, the band was tight and clearly made up of exceptionally talented musicians. A special mention must go to drummer, Philip “Ghapi” Botha, who also sang the lead in most of the pieces. His skill at commanding two musical disciplines was breathtaking, and he really has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard.
As a venue, the Barnyard loses no points. They’re warm, well-stocked with drinks and snacks, and the pizzeria has great options for anyone needing more than a nibble. Prices aren’t too bad either. The sound quality inside the theatre is excellent, and technically the show seemed to go very well. As a girl, I must make a note that the bathrooms were in good nick and I didn’t have to scrounge around for loo paper or towelling to dry my hands – something that happens all too often in big venues. It matters.
Botes’ social commentary is not lost on me. Our human spirits are easily swayed by temptation. We want whatever we’re told not to want. And let’s not forget that the world loves a scandal, even if it means we are kept ignorant of a darker reality for a little while longer.
We’re left wondering what happens to poor David, but I’m told that this is only the second chapter. I hope that the later instalments deliver a little more comprehensively, as well as visually, but regardless I have no doubt that the band will captivate its audience.
In the meantime, I’m off to track down the album.
Mel Botes’ David’s Confession runs at the Barnyard Theatre, Willowbridge, 10 & 11 October 2011.