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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


uShaka Marine’s Christmas show features orchestra, choir, vocalists, character presenters and dolphins. (Review by Shika Budhoo)

uShaka Marine World hosts ”Santa’s Summer Christmas Celebration” featuring an orchestra, a choir, vocalists, character presenters and dolphins all performing under the open sky.

Within the mighty Dolphinarium, a packed capacity pavilion witnessed the launch of Dolphins by Starlight, uShaka Marine’s Christmas show with a strong Christmas theme. The highlight of the show for all, involved the dolphin act and the megastar Gambit. Gambit is popular in this town for being the largest bottle-nosed dolphin in captivity. His skill and speed surpasses his fellow dolphin-performers. The show has acts to satisfy children as well as their parents.

A cute addition to the musical element brought out in a Christmas visual, was that on the large performance space that ran along the length of the Dolphinarium pool, the choir took the shape of a real life Christmas tree. The choir stood wearing green dresses with decorative patterns and formed the triangular shape of a Christmas tree. Very outstanding. The Christmas tree choir consisted of younger school-going age vocalists, and their professionalism and skill in the windy weather was duly noted as they comfortably performed to a capacity house. It was a spectacular vision, and their voices were superb heard crisply over the open air sounds of the night sky and surrounds.

Vocalists Samantha Peo and Njabulo Madlala opened the show with a strong classical display, they were followed by dolphins Ntombi, Khaya, Africa and Zulu in all their glory. They magnificently flipped and flopped, twirled and whirled, jumped and bumped and at times appeared on cue to the classical music played live by a mini orchestra and the Christmas tree choir. The kiddies will particularly enjoy the dolphins. This dress rehearsal, I noticed the children look on in awe as they watched the sleek grey bodies gliding effortlessly and skilfully through the water at their trainers’ signal. The children will be in high Christmas spirits when Twinkle and Gloria, a star and an angel, prepare them for the arrival of Santa to the Dolphinarium and all the crowd interaction involved keeps them on their toes for a while.

The presence of Santa Claus (Jimmy Lithgow) spreading goodwill and cheer alongside talented vocal artists (who included Durban Diva, Pume Zondi) accompanied by a superb orchestra and choir, with the talents of skilled marine life, created the warm fuzzy Christmas feeling that this season has to offer. One of the many songs performed by Pume Zondi All I want for Christmas is you was a highlight of my night, she has a voice that lifts the spirit.

I must add that if you’ve been to a Dolphin show at this dolphinarium before, the tricks performed by the wonderful sea creatures are similar to their old routine. It is the acts between and around the dolphins that vary from their normal show, with a strong classical and Christmas theme. Also carry a cushion to sit on, if you have a particularly sensitive bottom - seating is pavilion style.

Dolphins by Starlight runs from December 16 to 19 at 18h30 for 19h00. Tickets R95 (R75 for children under 12) available at Computicket or uShaka Marine World. For more information, contact 031 328 8000. - Shika Budhoo