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Saturday, November 22, 2014


(Rory McLaren)

Rory McLaren continues Rhumbelow Theatre’s reputation of offering a friendly, laidback and entertaining experience. (Review by Keith Millar)

Singer and pianist Rory McLaren, from the Eastern Cape, is not particularly well known in Durban. In fact, it is six years since he last performed in our city. So his visit to the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo this week-end is an ideal opportunity to get to know this talented artist a little better.

McLaren comes across as a personable “boy next door” type of individual and his intimate cabaret style show is ideally suited to the informal Rhumbelow Theatre. The music he performs during his show covers the greatest hits from a wide and eclectic variety of artists and is a nostalgic walk down memory lane. All the songs are well known, and well-loved, and had the audience singing and clapping along with pleasure.

In fact, in some ways it felt like a gathering around the hi-fi in the lounge where everyone re-discovers their old favourites.

Included in the show are artists such as Josh Groban, Elvis Presley, Elton John, The BeeGees, Neil Diamond, Abba, Queen and Barbara Streisand. We also heard Judy Garland’s Somewhere over the Rainbow which was followed, interestingly, by her daughter, Lisa Minnelli’s wonderful New York New York.

Then, to get the party going, McLaren belted out a few rockers such as Great Balls of Fire from Jerry Lee Lewis, Proud Mary from Tina Turner, and Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock. He also showed his versatility by singing Andrea Bocelli’s The Prayer and the opera favourite, Nessun Dorma, which became hugely popular on a global scale when Luciano Pavarotti sang it at the FIFA World Cup in 1990.

The songs are mostly sung to backtracks which McLaren spices up nicely with his capable piano playing.

McLaren has a good voice with a strong upper register and plenty of power. He is a wholehearted performer and gives his all, while enthusiastically performing every song. In fact, he may be advised to adopt a more restrained approach with some of his renditions to give his show more light and shade.

A night out at the Rhumbelow supper theatre is always a friendly, laid back and entertaining experience. Rory McLaren’s The Greatest Hits ensures that this reputation is kept intact.

The Greatest Hits has three more performances: tonight (November 22) at 20h00 and tomorrow (November 23) at 14h00 and 18h30. The venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner or lunch. Braai fires will be provided. There is a cash bar available (no alcohol may be brought onto the premises). Limited secure parking is available.

Tickets R120pp. Booking is essential and may be done via Computicket or by contacting Roland on 082 499 8636 or email  Webpage – Keith Millar