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Sunday, June 14, 2015


(Barry Thompson; Mali Sewell; Dawn Selby, Shaun Dragt & Jason Andrew)

Very experienced and talented musicians bring Dire Straits to life at Rhumbelow. (Review by Keith Millar)

Add together the superb music of the illustrious British rock group of Dire Straits, the extraordinary musical skills and talent of Durban’s leading band, The Reals, and the informality of the Rhumbelow Supper Theatre, and what do you get? Well, if the opening performance of Tribute to Dire Straits was anything to go by, you get a serious rock and roll party.

This is a tribute show out of the top drawer. The Reals perform the music of Dire Straits with respect, accuracy and passion, transporting the audience back to the 1970’s and 80’s when the group was one of the world’s most commercially successful bands.

Dire Straits was founded in 1977 by singer/songwriter and guitar genius Mark Knopfler along with his younger brother David. Their clean guitar-driven style, which shows influences of jazz, blues and folk, appealed to audiences around the world. In a career spanning a total of 15 years they became one of the best-selling groups of all time with over 120 million in album sales. They were also the recipients of four Grammy Awards, Three Brit awards and two MTV Video Music Awards.

The band’s songs include Money for Nothing, Brothers in Arms, Sultans of Swing, Private Investigations, Communiqué, Romeo and Juliet, Telegraph Road, Tunnel of Love, Solid Rock and Down to the Waterline.

All these and more are performed with intensity, flair and skill by the gifted Durban rock group The Reals. Made up of very experienced and talented musicians they brought Dire Straits to life on the Rhumbelow stage and had the audience singing, clapping and stomping along – and by the time the band got to Brothers in Arms – on their feet and dancing up a storm.

The Reals is fronted by the outstanding Barry Thompson on lead guitar. His affable and self-deprecating nature belies his enormous talent. When he begins to play, you realise he is world-class. He could almost be a twin of the great Mark Knopfler. Dawn Selby is the keyboard player, musical director and leader of The Reals. She is the quiet force in the background whose guiding hand is always evident in their performances.

Solid as a rock and anchoring the group is bassist Jason Andrew, while drummer Mali Sewell reminds all with this performance why he is known as The God of Thunder. Guest guitarist for Tribute to Dire Straits is the impressive Shaun Dragt.

The Rhumbelow Supper Theatre in Umbilo plays a big part in the success of a production such as this. The excellent sound and lighting along with the compact stage, and a full house audience, creates the ambience of a smoky rock and roll club of old.

With this show the Theatre celebrates its 14th year of existence. This is an impressive achievement in the often fickle world of performance venues. Big congratulations to Roland Stansell and his team.

Fans of Dire Straits, old rockers and, in fact, anyone who enjoys top class classic rock music entertainment should make every effort to see this show. You may initially not intend to sing and clap along, but once the music gets going you will find that you won’t be able to help yourself. This show is, without doubt, the biggest rock and roll party in town.

Tribute to Dire Straits can be seen at Rhumbelow Theatre until June 21 with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 20h00 and on Sundays at18h30. Tickets R120 (R100 pensioners and tables of eight or more for the first weekend).

The venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner. Take along food picnic baskets. Braais will be available and there is limited secure parking and A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Durban is situated in Cunningham Avenue off Bartle Road.

Booking is essential through Computicket or contact Roland on 082 499 8636, email or visit – Keith Millar