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Sunday, February 15, 2009


Sassy foursome provide great entertainment in non-stop programme of hit songs at Rhumbelow. (Review by Caroline Smart)

At a time when the economic (global) and political (national) landscape seems uncertain, coupled with post-Christmas/New Year blues, the back-to-school financial crunch – and let’s not talk about the tax deadline or the humidity! – we need a little brightness and beauty in our lives.

The answer lies at Rhumbelow Theatre with the show Girls Behaving Badly. Well-known to Durban audiences are Shelley McLean, Marion Loudon and Janna Ramos-Violante who link up with newcomer Elizabeth Perkins to present a fun and entertaining non-stop (comparatively) programme of hit songs from Diana Ross to Britney, Amy and Madonna. Expect hits associated with Bette Midler, Pussycat Dolls, Gwen Stefani and Tina Turner as well as oldies from Billie Holiday, Connie Francis and Nancy Sinatra.

The “comparatively” part of “non-stop” means that the action does pause for costume changes - of which there are many - when a voice-over by a number of well-known characters from Lisa Bobbert’s hilarious Bobbert Uncut make their mark as they dissect the personalities of the performers.

With Darren King’s amusing scripting, Lisa is eventually heard as herself, lamenting that she wasn’t invited to be in the show despite the fact that she considered a number of the cast to be her close friends … until now!

Don’t let the title mislead you into thinking it’s a raunchy, sleaze show. On the contrary, it’s all good, clean fun and, with an impressive number of very attractive costumes by Shelley Haggard and Kevin Ellis, makes for a visual delight.

While the audience responded with enthusiasm and enjoyment, I think the production can go much further in terms of reaching its true potential and making the most of the talent involved. Stronger direction is required in terms of structure with a thought to providing added extra excitement and flair with more numbers like Marion Loudon’s Calypso-styled I Like You Very Much and Shelley McLean’s I Wanna Be Loved By You. Other individual stand-outs were Janna Ramos Violante’s These Boots Were Made for Walking and Elizabeth Perkins’s poignant I’m Not a Girl.

My standard gripe about backing tracks overshadowing the singers, rendering lyrics near-unintelligible (my oft-quoted description being “cottonwool sound”), unfortunately applies in this case. The Rhumbelow is now air-conditioned, has a new lighting system and an extended stage in front so perhaps attention to the sound system should be next on the venue upgrading schedule. However, as I said, none of these technicalities bothered the audience the night I was there!

Tickets R80. Take along food picnic baskets and braais will be available. There is limited secure parking and booking is essential. A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Theatre is situated in Cunningham Avenue off Bartle Road. To book contact Roland on 031 205 7602 (h) or 082 499 8636, email or visit - Caroline Smart

Due to the tremendous success this production has achieved, ”Girls Behaving Badly” will return to Rhumbelow in May to run over the weekends of May 8 to 10 and 15 to 17