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Sunday, December 6, 2015


(Jason Andrew, Barry Thompson & Dawn Selby)

Highly enjoyable supper theatre production pays homage to a unique and golden period in musical history. (Review by Keith Millar)

Come on all you hippies and flower children out there. Grab your beads and headbands and put on your bell-bottoms and tie-dye shirts and head for the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo to spend some time with Durban’ super group The Reals, in Laurel Canyon.

This highly enjoyable supper theatre production pays homage to a unique and golden period in musical history when an extraordinary collection of artists resided, played together, partied together and smoked together in a secluded, semi-rural neighbourhood above Hollywood in Los Angeles.

In the late 1960’s and early 70’s, the densely wooded Laurel Canyon was home to the likes of Joni Mitchell, The Mammas and Pappas, The Byrds, The Eagles, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Jim Morrison of the Doors.

Frank Zappa lived in the famous Log Cabin in the Canyon and he welcomed guests such as Jimmi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, British blues legend John Mayall, Janis Joplin, Jeff Beck, Mary-Ann Faithful and many others.

The mythical and mystical Canyon became a wonderfully creative melting pot which spawned some of the most memorable music to emerge from that era and which is sometimes referred to as the California sound.

Durban’s fabulously talented and hugely experienced group, The Reals, bring this marvellous music to life in a performance out of the top-drawer. Playing on this occasion without drummer Mali Sewell they show their versatility, subtlety and skill and prove, as if we didn’t already know, that they are more than just a hard driving rock outfit.

I have long been a fan of the signing voice of Dawn Selby and have often felt that this talent of hers is wasted as she normally assumes the role of back-up singer for the group. However, on this occasion she comes to the fore and gives superb renditions of songs from Joni Mitchel, Mama Cass, Carole King and Linda Ronstadt. It was absolutely marvellous.

Barry Thompson is, as always, all charm and laidback wit as the host of the show. As lead singer he delivers the goods, while his skill on the guitar, both acoustic and electric, never ceases to amaze. Jason Andrew on bass is as rock steady as ever and he too shows that he has a voice which is capable of much more than that of a back-up singer.

The Rhumbelow Theatre and The Reals have another winner with Laurel Canyon, which is their festive season production. It would serve as a perfect Christmas celebration and will delight all old hippies and flower children, as well as anyone who just enjoys superb music played with passion and panache.

Laurel Canyon can be seen at the Rhumbelow Theatre in Cunningham Avenue, Umbilo from December 11 to 13 and again from December 18 to 20: Shows Friday and Saturday at 20h00 and Sunday at 14h00 and 18h30. The venue opens 90 minutes before the show for picnic dinner.

Tickets R120. Booking is essential via Computicket or contact Roland on 082 499 8636, e-mail: or visit

Bring food picnic baskets. Braais facilities are available. Bar available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). There is limited secure parking. – Keith Millar