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Friday, February 8, 2013


(Grant Bell)

Fourth time round, this show proves its return by popular demand. (Review by Keith Millar)

The Neil Diamond tribute, The Jazz Singer, is back at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest by popular demand. It is the fourth time that this production has been staged at the venue.

What more can be said about a show which has enjoyed such unprecedented support and acclaim from the public?

Except to concur that it really is that good!

Of course, the material used for the show is of the very best. Musical genius Neil Diamond has sold over 125 million records worldwide, and is regarded to be the third most successful adult contemporary artist ever on the Billboard charts. His brand of music has transcended generations and appeals to all age groups.

Among his many hits which can be heard at this show are Sweet Caroline, Song Sung Blue, Red Red Wine, Beautiful Noise, America, Cracklin’ Rosie, Holly Holy, I am I Said, Love On The Rocks, Porcupine Pie, Forever in Blue Jeans, Longfellow Serenade  and Hello Again along with a host of others.

Performing these memorable songs are the members of the impressive Heritage Theatre band. This outfit must certainly rate as one of the best in Durban, if not the country, at the moment. They have oodles of experience and talent and never fail to produce a scintillating and professional performance.

For The Jazz Singer, they are fronted by the popular Grant Bell of Gee Jays fame. He gives his usual competent singing performance and also provides the biographical anecdotes about Neil Diamond life. Sharing the vocals and playing lead guitar is the incomparable Barry Thompson while Shaun Draght is on acoustic guitar, Jason Andrew on bass and Mali Sewell on drums. Musical director and on keyboards is Dawn Selby. She also reminds the audience of her fine singing talents in a memorable duo with Bell of You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.

The third element which makes a visit to the Heritage Theatre an unforgettable night out is the food.
There is a new menu available and the offerings are as good as ever. For starters there is a choice of three dishes. A Lentil Salad with butternut, beetroot and roasted sunflower seeds, a Bruschetta with olives, peppadews, feta cheese, and cherry tomatoes, and Chicken Livers Peri Peri. My wife enjoyed the Bruschetta and found it very refreshing while I had the Chicken Livers which were creamy, mildly spiced and delicious.

There are four main courses on the menu. Roasted Vegetable Stack for the vegetarians, foil baked Hake Fillet, Pan-Fried Chicken Fillets and Veal Bourguignon. We both opted for the Veal which was slow braised with mushrooms, onions and carrots, and served with Parsley Parmigiano Penne. This proved to be a good choice as the dish was tender, tasty and very satisfying. Also available at a extra charge is Snails as a starter and the Heritage Theatre’s famous Lamb Shank as a main.

The Jazz Singer has been one of the Heritage Theatre’s most popular productions and a usually enjoys “sold out” audiences. It is highly recommended so book early to avoid disappointment.

The Jazz Singer runs at the Heritage Theatre in the Heritage Market at Hillcrest until February 24. Tickets, which include a two-course meal, are R195pp Wednesdays to Saturday (R165 pp Sunday lunch. Bookings and more information on 031 765 4197 or – Keith Millar