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Monday, May 9, 2011


(Rocco de Villiers in full Liberace mode)

Rocco de Villiers is back - with his piano virtuosity, endearing stage patter and dazzling costumes. (Review by Maurice Kort)

The flashy, flamboyant, talented piano maestro Liberace was most certainly a legend in his lifetime, best remembered, as he wished, for his shows, music and costumes, not forgetting his much be-ringed fingers. Popular pianist Rocco de Villiers has previously appeared at the Rhumbelow Theatre in his tribute to "the king of bling" and he now returns with a much different show, sans all the rings, the candelabra and probably much of the outrageous costumes - I had not seen the previous show. Rocco de Villiers' piano virtuosity, endearing stage patter and dazzling costumes, by Simon Rademan, are however still there in the show again directed by Tobie Cronje.

Liberocco commences with a voice-over and a darkened stage giving a brief resume of Liberace's popularity in his heyday after which Rocco de Villiers quietly enters, resplendent in a white outfit suitably decorated with much silver bling. In his address to the audience they learn much of the early life of Rocco de Villiers, born in Harrismith, nicely bringing in titbits about the great Liberace.

Very topically, Twitter and Facebook are discussed and compared to the old method of making friends and meeting people before the electronic era, viz. the Lonely Heart's Club in the Farmer's Weekly, Rocco de Villiers having come from good farming stock. After his superb rendition of Music Box Dancer at the piano, with a full orchestra backing track, as are all the musical numbers in the show, Rocco de Villiers expounds on Afrikaans films and folk songs - which all seem to sound the same and all 388 of which can be found in that thick volume of FAK (Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuur - Federation of Afrikaans Culture) Songbook. This leads into the Theme Song from The Titanic at the piano. The first act concludes with Rocco de Villiers suitably flamboyant not with a feather boa – no, nothing as simple as that - but in a full length multi-coloured feather cloak and a show stopping Jealousy Tango at the piano, again with full orchestra backing tape.

The second act is as funny and entertaining with Rocco de Villiers taking the audience back to 1975 and the momentous introduction of TV to South Africa. Each house was then transformed with the addition of a TV room, complete with Gomma Gomma furniture, hideous sunfilter curtains and synthetic carpets, not forgetting those ashtrays inside miniature John Deere tyres (remember them?).

Amongst other musical numbers, expect to hear the theme from the Angela Lansbury hit TV series Murder She Wrote and his own composition, the very sweet You Are, I Am, We Are. Also I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables which became such a huge hit for Susan Boyle after her appearance on UK's Got Talent and Josh Groban's You Raise Me Up. For the encore, the audience can choose between the theme from The Bodyguard or the superb ABBA Medley performed in a stunning red sequinned outfit.

Liberocco: A Liberace Tribute can be seen at the Rhumbelow Theatre next Friday and Saturday (May 13 and 14) at 20h00 and May 15 at 18h30. The venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner. Tickets R100. 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.

Booking is through Computicket or contact Roland on 031 205 7602 (h) or 082 499 8636, email or visit – Maurice Kort