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Tuesday, July 17, 2018


(The full cast of “Jukebox Hits”. Pic by Barry Meehan)

A great programme of top notch and highly enjoyable entertainment covering some of the most requested songs of all time. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Well-known director and producer Andrew Webster and his wife Cindy run the Rockwood Theatre (formerly the Krakatoa Lounge) at Sibaya. Their latest show, Jukebox Hits, celebrates numbers that have been played on Jukeboxes the world over.

According to Wikipedia: “The term jukebox came into use in the United States beginning in 1940, apparently derived from the familiar usage "juke joint", derived from the Gullah word "juke" or "joog" meaning disorderly, rowdy, or wicked. As it applies to the 'use of a jukebox', the terms juking (v.) and juker (n.) are the correct expressions.

These coin-operated music-playing machines reigned supreme in bars, lounges, pool halls and diners from the 1940s and supplied a valuable indication to the music market of the demand for certain records. The machines’ popularity waned with the introduction of portable radios and cassette tape decks.

Jukebox Hits opens with an audiovisual introduction to the jukebox, focusing on the Wurlitzer model. From then on, it’s a great programme of top notch and highly enjoyable entertainment to suit all pop music tastes.

It’s an impressive 10-member cast headed by vocalists Liesl Coppin; Janine Cupido; Riyann Cornelius; Kyle Matthews and Percy Smith.

Also appearing on vocals are lead guitarist Sheldon von Grimm and bassist Kelly Joubert. They are supported by the inimitable Calli Thomson on keyboards; Paul Cassells on drums and Johan van der Molen on sax who plays until the end of this week when saxophonist Kirsty van der Linde will take over.

Highlights for me were Coppin’s I Love Rock’n Roll and Poker Face and her powerful and passionate presentation of At Last. Matthews gave a beautiful rendering of Ain’t That a Kick in the Head. Smith was delightful in Louis Amstrong’s What a Wonderful World, complete with the familiar smile and the use of Satchmo’s handkerchief and Say you say me.

Cupido’s I have Nothing was extremely powerful as was Joubert’s Titanium. Von Grimm also came into his own as a vocalist with Sex on Fire, demonstrating his dexterity on his instrument in the stunning solo sequences of Thunder.

Matthews, Cornelius and Smith provided much amusement with End of the Road where they approach a lady in the audience, vying for her favours. The full cast excelled in Thriller, Uptown Funk and Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes.

However, top of the bill was Cupido and Cornelius’s splendid presentation of The Prayer.

I had a problem with the handling of Time to say Goodbye. While the audience seemed to enjoy it, it didn’t fit with the style of the show. I was also disappointed with the Queen tribute which lacked the distinctive Freddy Mercury “bite”.

(Liesl Coppin singing “At Last”. Pic by Barry Meehan)

There’s a veritable parade of costumes reflecting the various styles of music, my favourite being Coppin’s midnight blue sequinned gown. Mthandazo Mofokeng lighting is spectacular and Reinardt Misselhorn’s sound is well-controlled. Swirling smoke adds to the atmosphere.

Moving from jive, the twist, rock ‘n roll and swing and adding reggae, isicathamiya and light classical, there’s something for everyone.

Jukebox Hits runs in the Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino until September 2 with shows at 20h00 from Thursday to Saturday and Sundays at 14h00. Tickets: Thursday nights @ R99; Saturday and Friday nights @ R130 and Sundays with adults @ R130, children U12 free and pensioners with 50% discount!

Booking through 031 161 0000 or or the booking office at Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom. – Caroline Smart