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Saturday, May 5, 2018


(Sean Stewart; Grant Emmerich; Belinda Henwood; 
Jochen Zeller & Anton Cawthorn-Blazeby)

An original and hugely-entertaining musical feast. (Review by Barry Meehan)

From the moment the South Jersey Pom-Poms hit the stage – no, make that from the moment you enter the Tina’s Hotel venue – you know you’re in for something different by way of an evening’s entertainment. And, boy, is this different!

Eclectic is probably the best word to describe the South Jersey Pom Poms – eclectic in their styles, their costuming, their performance and their music, which is all 100% original, a collaboration by these five incredibly talented local musos. Don’t let the fact that you will have to wait for the encore for a song that you’ll recognise – their music is sharp, sassy, bitingly amusing and rhythm driven. There is never a dull moment in this powerhouse performance that mesmerised their first night audience.

The five members of the group – Belinda Henwood (MC, vocals, keyboard and piano accordion), Jochen Zeller on guitar, Sean Stewart on bass, Anton Cawthorn-Blazeby on violin and Grant Emmerich on a monster drumkit, obviously thoroughly enjoyed every minute of their time on stage, drawing the audience in with their joie de vivre and skilled interaction with each other, both scripted and off-the-cuff.

The first half positively flew by, with notable numbers such as Science and Fashion, the Facebook song, Too Slow for the Fast Lane, Le Dernier Mot (in French, obviously), Non Basta (Italian) and the incredibly rousing Drunken Bvlgarian Girls to bring the curtain down.

The question was posed at interval as to what genre their music fell into. There is no definitive answer to this, but burlesque cabaret comes closest to describing it. Think Moulin Rouge, Cabaret, Burlesque with Madame Zingara overtones, and you might come close.

And then, just when you think you’ve got the South Jersey Pom Poms categorised, the second half starts off with a country feel! And not just normal country, but country in German, no less. Then the cleverest number in the production – you think you’re in for Ghost Riders In The Sky, but it suddenly becomes The Sticker Song about those people who drive around with their families advertised on the rear windows of their vehicles!

Other standout numbers in the second half are A Jack of All Trades, the bird song and Gypsy Tequila, which brings the show to a close, before the encore – their great version of a Sonny and Cher classic.

The South Jersey Pom Poms are one of the tightest musical groups on the local scene, their multi-layered rhythms driving an evening of delicious entertainment. Special mention must be made of the technical crew – Colin Peddie (a maestro on the sound desk); Donna on lighting (subtle, subtle, subtle!), and Stephen Woodroffe, who put together the remarkably entertaining video clips, which added intriguing dimensions to the overall look and feel, without detracting from it at all. Look out for the Charlie Chaplin tightrope sequence and the Bob Fosse choreography sequence from Sweet Charity, to mention just a couple.

Much as I don’t like singling anyone out in this ultra-tight ensemble, special mention has to be made of Belinda Henwood. We’re accustomed to her very professional performances in KickstArt pantos etc, but she really comes to the fore in the South Jersey Pom Poms. Suddenly we’re faced with a whole new dimension of Belinda, with her superb and on-point singing, her keyboard and piano accordion virtuosity, and her wonderfully charming stage presence. I wish the South Jersey Pom Poms every success in the future, and trust that they will reach incredible heights with their original and hugely-entertaining musical feast.

The South Jersey Pom-Poms will give two more performances: tonight (May 5) at 20h00 and tomorrow (May 6) at 14h00 at Tina’s Hotel. (Venue opens 60 minutes before show for drinks)

Tickets R150 (R130 pensioners) and tables seat 6. (No alcohol or food may be brought on to the premises). Tickets are cash or EFT only. Secure parking is available. Booking is through Computicket or contact Roland (also for large group booking discounts of 20 or more) on 082 499 8636 or email: or visit

Tina’s Hotel is situated at 14 Beryldene Road in Kloof. Do not miss this show! – Barry Meehan

(Should you wish to dine before the show at Tina’s, it is recommended that you arrive no later than 90 min before show-time for the restaurant. An a-la-carte menu is available and the Sunday buffet is R135 per head (R110 pensioners). Booking is essential as seating is limited. Payment for restaurant is cash, credit card or zapper. Contact 031 764 7843 or visit Please indicate that you are a theatre booking when making your reservation.)