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Wednesday, February 28, 2018


A high-energy, stimulating and enjoyable showcase of evergreen favourites as well as contemporary pieces. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Apart from being a consummate performer full of energy, a good dancer and a masterful handler of his microphone, Andrew Webster is also a director and producer. He is a long-term favourite of Durban audiences for his performances on the Barnyard Theatre circuit. Hats off to him for creating a desperately-needed new theatre space in the Durban area.

My first visit to the impressive Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya was to see A Beautiful Noise – a high-energy, stimulating and enjoyable showcase of evergreen favourites as well as contemporary pieces. The tribute to country, folk and acoustic rock singers celebrates the instruments they used and features top performances all round.

Leading the cast is Webster himself – although he is bowing out of the show to concentrate on the production side of the venue and will be replaced by Percy Smith from March 2. He is supported on vocals by Marion Loudon, Ofentse Mokhuane and Candice Kennedy.

(At the performance I attended, Marion Loudon’s role was temporarily replaced by Liesl Coppin, who gave her usual splendid performance)

There is a great band backing up the cast led by the inimitable John Ellis who plays a plethora of stringed instruments with Llewellyn Chetty on bass guitar, Dylan van der Linde on drums, Lifa Arosi on piano and Andy Turrell on pedal steel, acoustic and electric guitars. Giving some remarkable performances on the violin is Anita Ruscoe.

As Webster maintains, there is no better sound than that generated by acoustic instruments. The show is dedicated to young instrumentalists – hoping to see them on the stage one day making “a beautiful noise”. Any youngsters in the audience with musical talents cannot fail to be inspired.

A Beautiful Noise starts off with the explosive sound of a thunderstorm, heralding the number Thunderstruck. From then, on its energy-plus – fantastic lighting and powerful sound with lots of smoke and flashing light displays.

Expect to hear time-honoured favourites by Neil Diamond, The Eagles, Crosby Stills & Nash, Rodriguez, Dolly Parton and Creedence Clearwater Revival as well as recent artists such as Ed Sheeran, Adele, Jason Mraz, Lumineers, Mumford & Sons and Shania Twain. The audience needs little encouragement to join in with fervour, singing along or up and dancing!

Among the highlights was Duelling Banjos, the theme from Deliverance. Normally featuring two banjos, here John Ellis and Anita Ruscoe put in a brilliant presentation of incredible speed incorporating much humour between the two players.

Other great numbers were Sugarman; Islands in the Stream, Feel like a Woman and the Creedence Clearwater Revival medley. The show closes with an exhilarating sequence of hoedown numbers with rapid fire lyrics.

Family-oriented and working on the same formula as the Barnyard Theatre, this is a supper theatre venue. However, patrons may not bring food or drink into the venue unless the food has been purchased from the Rockwood Theatre or any other of the Sibaya food outlets. Rockwood offers pizzas (their speciality), snack platters and salads and there is a fully stocked bar. Note to wine drinkers – wine can only be purchased by the bottle.

Under a high dome, there are three levels: ground floor and two balcony areas. The ground floor is best for dancing and bopping and appreciating the powerful sound levels. On the mezzanine floor, it’s a little quieter, I believe. The stage is flanked by impressive hangings depicting New York City.

This is certainly a family-oriented show where you get your money’s worth!

A Beautiful Noise runs until April 1, 2018. Tickets R100 via or Visit for more information on the show. – Caroline Smart