national Arts Festival Banner

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Fantastic, fun-filled “Festive Fusion”.  (Review by Keith Millar)

One of the highlights of the Durban festive celebrations every December is the uShaka Marine World’s delightful Dolphins by Starlight.

The show is a fantastic, fun-filled Festive Fusion. It features uShaka’s magnificent group of captive dolphins. They are supported by a bevy of singers and dancers who get the party spirit going with their enthusiastic performances of popular Christmas music.

As usual, the stars of the show are the dolphins with the females up first and setting the standard with their breathtaking aquatic gymnastics. They are wonderfully graceful and balletic as they race around the pool executing their high energy antics.

The male dolphins are not to be outdone and, in their segment, they show that they are quite capable of matching anything the girls could get up to.

The superstar of the uShaka Dolphin show is the fabulous Gambit. At 3.65m in length and weighing in at nearly 500kg, he is thought to be the biggest Bottlenose Dolphin in captivity in the world. He is the father of seven of the dolphins performing at uShaka and grandfather of one. He has been in captivity for 40 years.

This venerable “old man” exudes great presence in the pool and puts in a performance which is full of poise and dignity.

Creative Director and Producer of Dolphins by Starlight is uShaka’s Events Manager, Brendon Meiring-Pollock. He has gathered together a talented cast of singers and dancers to provide the musical content of the show. Included are Lindiwe Bungane of Project Fame and Dreamgirls, George Meiring - runner-up of SABC Supersterre, songbird Lauren Laing and newcomers Dehnishta Chetty, Robyn Skevington and Andrew Sutton.

Also providing entertainment are the uShaka Ocean Warrior Mascots – Slippy, Raggy, Rusty and Delia – entertainers, White Bread, Umlazi African Jingle Zulu Dancers, Lyra and Bungee acts and musical theatre performers from the Durban Actors Studio.

Songs performed include all-time favourites such as American Trilogy, Halleluiah, Santa is Coming to Town, Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, The 12th Night of Christmas, I Will Follow Him and a rather strange R&B version of The Little Soldier Boy. There is also sing-a-long segment of Christmas carols. 

The dancers provided a variety of styles celebrating Durban’s diverse cultures from funky hip hop, pantsula, modern, western line dancing, a rather stylised Zulu dance and even a bit of Bollywood.

The two aerial acts by highly supple and acrobatic performers was astonishing, while the snowfall in the midst of the Durban humidity, as always, elicited much excitement from the audience. 

Dolphins by Starlight is very much a family show and as such would be enjoyed by everyone from three to 103.

The last word I leave to my four-year-old grandson, who was my co-reviewer for the show. After watching the huge Gambit do an impossible leap from the pool and land with barely a splash, he turned to us and in a voice full of awe said “This is the best day of my life.”

The show runs from December 8 to 14 at 18h30 for 19h00. Tickets R170 (R140 children) are available at Computicket or via uShaka’s online ticketing on

For more information visit - Keith Millar