Umoja Writer Stages Piano Show to Save Son's LifeDate: 28 February 2002
Ian von Memerty (pictured) - the South African director and writer of the West End's (hopefully temporarily) displaced song-and-dance hit Umoja - is presenting the UK premiere of his two-man show, A Handful of Keys, in order to raise funds for his critically ill son.
A unique mixture of revue, concert, cabaret, tribute and parody, A Handful of Keys will play for ten performances only, from 31 March to 7 April 2002, at London's May Fair Theatre,
A Handful of Keys' limited engagement will specifically function as a charity event. Von Memerty, who has created and stars in the show, must raise £50,000 in order to save his son's life.
Six-and-a-half-year-old Oscar was born with a genetic metabolic illness (MPS 6), which causes all the soft tissues to swell, causing massive deformity, increasing paralysis and loss of motor functions. His sister has already died from this rare disease. A team from Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital are willing to perform a transplant on Oscar, as they have located a well-matched donor. However, they require an up-front payment of £120,000.
In A Handful of Keys, von Memerty and Roelof Colyn send up such musical greats as Liberace, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Carole King, Barry Manilow and Vonda Shephard.
The duo's tribute to pianists and music has already proved to be a sell-out success in their native South Africa. The show first opened in a 160-seat theatre in Johannesburg in 1994, when it was scheduled to play for five weeks only. Three years later, it finally ended its phenomenal run with full houses at a 1,000-capacity theatre, having played in total to more than 130,000 people. The show won nine theatre awards and broke all box office records and attracted rave reviews.
For further information, call the box office on 020 7851 0304. Tickets range from £15 to £30.
- by Terri Paddock