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Sunday, October 4, 2015


(Barry & Callie Thomson)

Execution of the music flawless and out of the top drawer. (Review by Keith Millar)

In keeping with its tradition of presenting top class musical entertainment the rustic Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo has come up with another winner with Thomson Verses Thomson. This show features Durban’s fabulously talented musical couple, Barry and Callie Thompson, in a warm and witty reflection on married life, through the music of some of the world’s greatest duets.

The couple are quick to point out the middle word of the title of their show is Verses as in musical verses – not “versus” as in a competition, battle or war. Nevertheless, they are not shy of taking a dig, mostly tongue in cheek and through their music, at some of the more difficult and aggravating aspects of marriage. The two clever mash medleys they perform, which depict conversations or arguments between married couples, are a case in point.

However, overall this is a show about chemistry. The chemistry between two outstanding musicians performing together on stage - the chemistry between a couple who know and understand each other extremely well - the chemistry between perceptive and charismatic performers and their audience – and lastly, but certainly not least, the chemistry between the original artists of the duets which was so sensitively re-created by the Thomsons.

Included was the music of entertainers such as Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Shania Twain, Kate Bush, Kid Rock, Cheryl Crow, Sting, Supertramp, Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, Bryan Adams and Bonnie Raitt.

Both Barry and Callie Thomson have CV’s which are too long to list here. Briefly, Barry is one of the country’s foremost rock guitarists. He has performed in shows and with bands around the country and has been a regular feature on stage in Durban. Most recently he has been the front man for Durban’s own super group, The Reals.

Callie has been the musical director and keyboardist for numerous shows including many on the Barnyard circuit. Her musical nous is highly regarded around the country.

I have long been a fan of these two accomplished musicians as separate individuals. As a music collaboration, they are something else. In Thomson Verses Thomson they create a memorable vibe which is inspirational, tremendously enjoyable. Needless to say, their execution of the music was flawless and out of the top drawer. One can only hope that they are motivated to do more of the same in the future. – Keith Millar