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Sunday, June 16, 2013


(Barry Thomson; Grant Bell; Gary McKenzie and John Didlick)

Four very good reasons to see Book Club - The Gee Jays, The Reals, an excellent meal and … Liesl Coppin. (Review by Keith Millar)

If longevity is used as a measure of popularity then the Gee Jays must rate as one of Durban’s favourite cabaret groups. Comprising of Gary McKenzie, John Didlick and Grant Bell, the Gee Jays have been performing their brand of down to earth, no nonsense, comedy/music shows for over 25 years and they still remain as popular as ever.

They are now back at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest with one of their much loved shows, Book Club. First performed at the Langoustine by the Sea theatre 12 years ago, the production reveals what actually happens behind the closed doors of the book club meetings enjoyed by so many women.

The Gee Jays produce their usual variety of fun, with nonstop cheesy puns and risqué jokes to go along with a wide variety of good music. They perform songs such as Heartache Tonight - the Eagles, Another Saturday Night - Cat Stevens, She’s A Lady- Tom Jones, Ob-la-di Ob-la-da – Beatles, My Dingaling- Chuck Berry, Smooth – Santana, Are You Lonesome Tonight – Elvis, amongst many others. They also offer brief skits on subjects such as the latest pick-up lines, give a sex toy demonstration, and perform as male strippers. It is bawdy and naughty and had the audience in stitches.

However, the star of the show is without doubt the incomparable Liesel Coppin. Adding more than a little glamour and sex appeal to the show, she delivers a fabulous comedy performance. She introduces five very diverse female characters who bring to life what actually happens behind the scenes at book club. Every one of them is an accurate and very funny caricature and is delivered with superb comedy timing and skill. None more so than her hilarious thrice-married and vey inebriated book club member. She is side-splitting as staggers about the stage to the strains of Frank Sinatra’s That’s Why The Lady Is A Tramp sung by Grant Bell. Coppin also has a very good singing voice as she shows with songs such Carley Simon’s You’re So Vain and Dolly Parton’s Nine To Five.

An added bonus with this show is the live musical backing provided by the marvellous Heritage Theatre resident band, The Reals. They consist of the show’s musical director, Dawn Selby, on keyboards, Barry Thompson on guitar, Jason Andrew on bass and Mali Sewell on drums. As always, they provide a very accomplished backing, and, on this occasion, they provide a few numbers of their own such as Wilson Picket’s Midnight Hour and Bachman Turner Overdrives You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.

As one has come to expect the food at this super theatre venue is expertly prepared and very flavoursome. My wife and I both chose Peri Peri Calamari for starters. This comprises tender calamari strips in a creamy, mild peri peri sauce. It is an aromatic and tasty dish. The other starters are a Frittata and Soup of The Day. For her main course my wife chose her favourite Crumbed Chicken Fillet and reported that the oven baked chicken breast was moist and full of flavour. My choice was the Pork Neck Steak. This is fast becoming somewhat of a signature dish for the Heritage Theatre. It is slow braised with mirepoix and a petite pinotage wine. The meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender and it has big robust flavours. The other mains are Cannelloni Duo and Oven Baked Sea Catch. A variety of desserts are available but are not part of the cover charge.

So, as I see, it there are four very good reasons of going to see Book Club: The Gee Jays, The Reals, an excellent meal and, the cherry on the top, Liesl Coppin.

Book Club runs at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest until July 7. From Tuesdays to Saturdays the doors open at 19h00 for dining and the show starts at 20h30 (Sunday dining is at 12h30 with the show at 14h00) Tickets R195 Wednesday to Saturday (R165 Tuesdays and Sundays) includes the two-course meal. Show only is R120.

Bookings on 031 765 4197 or visit