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Saturday, July 16, 2016


(Melanie Roberts. Pic by Robyn Jessica Botha, Get It Magazine)

A regal, sassy, sexy and commanding performance. (Review by Keith Millar)

Popular and colourful cabaret diva Melanie Roberts made what was ultimately a triumphant appearance on the stage of Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre as she opened her first ever solo show, All of Me.

In a very personal and emotional performance Roberts started slowly, as if she was nervous and feeling her way. However, as the show progressed she got stronger and by the second half she was right back where she belongs. She owned the stage and had the audience eating out of her hand. It was a regal, sassy, sexy and commanding performance.

Roberts has been an entertainer for 33 years and has performed in over 200 shows both locally and abroad. Her vast experience, coupled with her larger than life personality, result in a show of considerable skill and class.

She has a rather unusual vocal register for a female singer. More in the range of a male voice, it is deep, rich and mellow. This, along with her own unique style of delivery, ensures that she makes all the songs she performs her own, and certainly offers her audience something new and fresh.

Included in All of Me is wide range of popular music from The Beatles a Little Help from My Friends, Elton John’s Your Song and Bruno Mar’s Just the way You Are to old standards such as It Don’t Mean a Thing, a fabulous version of Summertime and All That Jazz.

There are also songs from iconic divas such as Barbara Streisand, Lisa Minnelli. Shirley Bassey and Nina Simone.

Also of note is Roberts’ emotional performance of Jacques Brel’s If You Go Away, which brought a tear to the eye of many in the audience, and her very sensitive and passionate rendering of My Funny Valentine.  

Roberts is delightfully witty, poignant and at times serious as she chats to the audience about her music choices, her career and life in general. It is all very entertaining.

Backing is provided by the superb pianist Shemual Mahabeer. He is a wonderfully sensitive and versatile performer and his sympathetic accompaniment allows Roberts to shine. His solo pieces during costumes changes are quite inspired.

Talking of costumes – Roberts’ gowns for this production are by Karen Monk Klijnstra.  They are splendidly glamorous and add considerable class to the production.

Noteworthy is Derek Pearce’s very effective lighting design. It adds an air of sophistication and glamour to the production. Andre Norden’s sound was, as ever also spot, on.

All of Me is a delightful, of old school, cabaret show. It is a great pleasure to see such an accomplished performer at the top of her game. Welcome back to where you belong, Melanie Roberts!

There are performances of All of Me on tonight (July 16) at 20h00 and tomorrow (July 17) at 14h00 and 18h30. The venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner. Tickets R140 (R120 pensioners and tables of eight or more).

Take along food picnic baskets. Braais will be available. There is limited secure parking and booking is essential. A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Durban is situated at 42 Cunningham Road off Bartle Road in Umbilo.

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