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Tuesday, October 29, 2013


(Jonathan Taylor (in wig) heads a cast comprising Jae Green, Josh Ansley, Marvin Nethononda, Caelee Vercueil and Lee Paver)

No 1 Countdown! (Review by John Harley)

The Barnyard at Gateway's end of year show is tailor-made to ensure that audiences get a package of number one hits, aptly named Strictly No 1's.

This show features many of the highlights and milestones taken from Billboard's Hottest 100 Hits, a musical "bible" from the brainchild of Fred Bronson back in 1984. Artists like Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Louis Armstrong and Cher feature strongly. Songs like King Fu Fighting and Don't worry, be Happy; Smooth by Santana (with Rob Thomas) and Rock me Amadeus are presented with tons of gusto and energy - the main ingredients that carry the show and almost put the audience in a frenzy of delight!

A host of other stars are saluted, such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder … and so I can go on. If it was a number 1 hit from way back, you will hear it, believe me!

In the end, I really liked the show. It was a show of two parts. The first part was rather jittery and a little 'all over'; the cast seemed somewhat tight and almost tried to force the audience to engage. There was no need for that. As the show settled and the artists relaxed into their parts, they captured their audience utterly and completely!

Jonathan Taylor as the host came across rather nervous to start with, but settled in and formed an amusing and fun link between the numbers.

The vocals were great, yet often I (and my guests) could not hear the lyrics as the singers were drowned out by the band.

Pace and timing are vitally important in any stage performance. Perhaps the cast tried to force the pace in the beginning and thus timing became a concern in the first part of the show. After intermission the cast really 'let rip' and everything fell into place - even the dancing! In this regard, I must say I had a great problem – there were some nice bits of choreography throughout, yet execution was poor. How come our SA dancers find it so hard to hear and feel the beat, and dance IN SYNC!?

I would like to comment on the set and lighting as well - a great improvement, a nice sense of surprise with the lights and the set was also good and appropriate on the eye!

Should you see the show? You betcha! It's a whole lot of fun and then some more.

Strictly No 1's is for all ages of all music tastes and celebrates all styles of fashion and song-crisscrossing 60 years of number one hits. Be prepared for a number one countdown that will get you and keep you rocking till the break of dawn!

The show is set to run at The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway until January 5. To accommodate the festive season additional lunch time shows (13h30) have been added. For more details with regard to bookings etc, phone the Barnyard Theatre at 031-566 3045, or visit - John Harley