What to do when your love’s on the rocks


DROWNING our sorrows: Jo (Cat Simoni) and Carl (Alan Glass) in Couch and a Piano. Photograph courtesy Auto & General Theatre on the Square.

WELCOME TO CLUB D, where everyone has a heart that is a little bit broken. This is the thread that runs through this sweet revue of songs and divorce repartee with acapello wiz, who you might remember from Not The Midnight Mass, Alan Glass and Cat Simoni, with her golden voice that needs no introduction to this theatre. While the show on paper offers premises that may remind you of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, which was performed at this theatre some years ago, this is something lighter and less structured.

Hanging on fairly tired jokes about divorce its thin and crudely predictable story line bruises the potency of the work, forcing the singing and collaborative strengths of Glass and Simoni to take second place behind awkward jibes at the psychology profession.

Carl (Glass), you see, is a Loop Street shrink. And Jo (Simoni), his patient. She’s recently divorced. So’s he. They come together to consider one another’s wounds with a bit of pop psychology and a lot of piano. Offering a palatable melange of reworked songs and covers, Simoni gets into her groove soon after curtain up and the highlights of the work’s repertoire include a fabulous reworking of Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear’s Before He Cheats, Tom Lehrer’s glorious Masochism Tango, Elton John’s I’m Still Standing and Mack Gordon and Harry Warren’s song, which Etta James took fabulous possession of, At Last.

Glass presents a devastatingly vulnerably man who skirts his professional responsibilities immersed as he is in his own divorce blues, armed as he is with the couch that he naps on. As the song repertoire unfolds, so he collaborates, with chords, voice and guitar.

You need to look beyond the cluttered stage, the thin tale and the feeble unoriginal attempts at wit, and you will find a show that sparkles with collaborative potential. In doing this, you might find yourself wishing for less divorce prattle and platitudes and more full throated song.

  • Couch and a Piano is written by Alan Glass, Cat Simoni and Paul Spence and directed by Paul Spence. It is performed by Alan Glass and Cat Simoni until August 25 at the Auto and General Theatre on the Square in Sandton. Call 011 883-8606.

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