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Friday, December 29, 2017


Knowing Me, Knowing You is a great start for the Rockwood Theatre. (Review by Barry Meehan)

What used to be the Krakatoa Nightclub at the Sibaya Casino is now the second Rockwood Supper Theatre, and what a great venue it is for this type of entertainment.

Comparisons to the now defunct Barnyard are impossible to ignore, but where the Rockwood stands out is the freshness of its offering. So many shows were desperately jaded by the time they reached Umhlanga after touring the Barnyard circuit. You could almost hear the cast thinking “Bloody hell, do we really have to go through another few weeks of this show?!?”

Be that as it may, the Rockwood production team has brought new life to the North Coast entertainment scene with Knowing Me, Knowing You and the cast sparkle with energy and commitment. The premise of the show is collaborations and partnerships in music, with some attention paid to artists who went on to have solo careers after partnership breakups.

Fortunately, the show doesn’t feature a specific music genre or decade, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. Featured bands/musicians in the first half of the show are ABBA, Fleetwood Mac, Sonny and Cher, Ike and Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie.

 Again, fortunately, the Rockwood team has not fallen into the trap of having their performers impersonate the original artists. Having said that, however, there is one notable exception, with stage newcomer Jean Citto giving us a very entertaining Michael Jackson impersonation with Billie Jean, aided and abetted by Liesl Coppin as his back-up dancer!

Long-time Durban artiste Liesl is undoubtedly the stand-out singer in this production, her professionalism shining through, almost eclipsing the excellent lighting rig at the theatre. How she did it I don’t know, but within twenty seconds of her frantic Billie Jean dance number, she reappears on stage in a completely different outfit and launches straight into a great version of Endless Love!

The second half of the show gets off to a superb start with Soul Sacrifice by Santana, really bringing the on-stage musicians to the fore with some stunning solos by drummer Dylan van der Linde and local boy lead guitarist Jason Kylen, who deserves a special mention as a very welcome addition to the Durban music scene.

Musical director Calli Thomson is her ever-professional self on keyboards, with Nico Badenhorst solid on bass guitar and Kirsty van der Linde providing great eye-candy as well as some excellent sax. Her performances in the Beatles number Come Together and the Mango Groove sequence are excellent standouts.

Other featured artists in the rollicking second half are Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande, Wham, Roxette, The Gypsy Kings, Amy Winehouse, Chicago, Mango Groove and the Beatles, with a great Fleetwood Mac encore.

As I mentioned earlier, there’s something for everyone in this show, which features four front-line singers. Liesl Coppin is the standout, but is very ably supported by the energetic Jemma Kate Shankland, and two young newcomers to the stage, Jean Citto and Ofentse Mokhuane. The two guys both have great voices, and can only improve in the future as far as stage presence is concerned. Unfortunately for them, they had probably never heard half the numbers they perform, but they do carry them off with enthusiasm.

All in all, Knowing Me, Knowing You is a great start for the Rockwood Theatre, and I wish them every success in the future.

Knowing Me Knowing You runs until January 28, 2018, with shows from Thursday to Saturday evenings and Sundays at 14h00. Doors open 90 minutes before each show in time for a meal. The venue offers a menu but patrons are welcome to bring in meals bought from within the Sibaya Complex. The theatre also has a fully-stocked bar. (NB: Wine is served by the bottle)

For more information on show times, ticket prices and reservations contact 031 161 0000 or visit or follow on Facebook – Barry Meehan