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Sunday, June 7, 2009


Amusing and enjoyable show at the Upper Deck shows considerable growth of performers and presentation. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The supper theatre shows at the Upper Deck of the Phantom Ship at uShaka Marine World have been growing steadily in structure since this scenic venue opened. From the initial fairly static musical productions to ones that now boast a basic set and not just free-standing panels, better laid-out stage area, and storylines linked with the song titles, the shows offer a far more theatrical and dramatic format.

Twist and Shout sees the Upper Deck team producing one of its best show to date. Directed once again by Charon Williams-Ross and produced by Wayne Scott, the production bubbles along with some snappy dialogue, numerous costume changes and the talents of the tried and tested team of Lauren Laing, Jonothan Didlick, Lyle Buxton, Bradley Marshall and Cavin Sewell.

This is certainly the best performance I’ve seen from Lauren. She’s completely in control of her musical material, exudes stage confidence and that smile would melt the sternest heart. Up until now, Jonathan Didlick has been easily the strongest of the male foursome, his extra years of theatre experience putting him at a distinct advantage. However, hot on his heels now and giving him a run for his money are Lyle Buxton and Cavin Sewell, with Bradley Marshall’s tendency to be inconsistent keeping him just a few steps behind them.

It is rewarding to see that each of the guys haven’t been cloned out of their individuality, as is so often the case. By the way, they have created their own boy group titled Tequila Sunrise which will no doubt be much in demand.

The cast members interact well either as an ensemble piece, in duos/trios or individually as they don their characters of joint winners of a Durban talent competition who get to spend time in London as their prize. Travelling through the sounds of the 60’s with hit songs from artists such as the Beatles, the Doors, Dusty Springfield and the Mamas and Papas they discover what makes London tick. With the lyrics of the various songs helping them along, they fall in and out of love, while acquiring a level of maturity and worldliness before they head for home.

Worth noting is Cavin Sewell’s capacity to remain in the sidelines but staying in touch with the action, subtle responsive emotions showing on his face without committing the unforgivable sin of pulling focus from whoever happens to be in the spotlight at the time.

Bradley Marshall has designed the costumes, even providing a range of hats for musical director Shem Mahabeer and the uShaka Band which also comprises Lewellyn Chetty (bass guitar), Jarred James (lead and acoustic guitar) and Dylan Kanny (drums).

Apart from some ill-fitting jackets, the occasional off-key harmony and sound problems in the second half on the night I went, the show looks set for a successful run. I was also pleased to see that the kitchen area – the dinner is buffet style – has been considerably smartened up. What more do you want for an evening’s entertainment – a good-looking cast, good music, good food and a good vibe! Don’t forget to take a jacket. While the venue is covered, the lower sides are open and the wind blowing off the sea can be chilly

Twist and Shout runs until July 18 at the Upper Deck from Wednesday to Saturday at 20h00 (dinner starts at 19h00). Tickets R150 pp include the buffet. Bookings on 031 328 8068 or Computicket. – Caroline Smart