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Thursday, October 11, 2018


(Gary Nixon & Rob Warren)

A unique and very entertaining show. (Review by Keith Millar)

Roland Stansell, the force behind the Rhumbelow Theatres, is always on the lookout for something new to develop the industry and to attract audiences. His latest innovation is what he calls “Pop-up“ theatre. Stripped down, acoustic sessions presented on Wednesday evenings.

The first of these productions took place this week at Rhumbelow, Tina’s Hotel in Kloof and featured two of Durban’s leading singer/guitarists, Rob Warren of the Black Lapels and Gary Nixon of the Kickstands, performing the music of “The Boss”, Bruce Springsteen.
The collaboration between these musicians is relatively new, but they displayed impressive synergy as the belted out all the best of Springsteen, accompanied only by their guitars. No assistance from an array of pedals, loops, fancy electronics or backup musicians.

It was an imposing performance - and if this is an example of what “Pop-up” theatre is, I would declare it a resounding success!

This style of music is usually presented in pubs or eateries where the musicians have to compete with dozens of conversations and other ambient noise to be heard. As the consumption of the good stuff increases, so does the noise level, and eventually any subtlety and sensitivity, which an integral part of the music, is lost.

So it was a rare pleasure to sit, theatre-style, and to hear the music and lyrics with all its nuances and subtlety’s uninterrupted. Particularly the music of Springsteen which is known for his brand of poetic lyrics.

Springsteen was born in 1949. He started performing in the 1960’s and is now in his fifth decade in the music industry. His commercially accessible brand of Heartland Rock has seen him win countless awards - and being inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll music Hall Of Fame.

Among his best loved songs are Born To Run, Born In the USA, I’m On Fire, Trapped, Dancing In The Dark, Glory Days, Hungry Heart, Human Touch, Thunder Road, and The Streets Of Philadelphia (for which he won an Academy Award).

All these, among many others, are included in the show. In fact I am sure that whatever your Springsteen favourite is, you would hear it performed by Warren and Nixon.

Kick Stands singer Gary Nixon’s style bears remarkable similarity to that of Springsteen’s. Heartfelt, rough and raw he put in a wonderful, emotional rendition of The Boss’ music. The Black Lapel’s Rob Warren by no means takes a back seat and between the two of them they produce a special tribute to the great music of Bruce Springsteen.

The Music of Bruce Springsteen (Unplugged) moves to the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo, Durban for the next two Wednesdays (October 17 and 25). It is a unique and very entertaining show. Book early to avoid disappointment. I, for one, can’t wait to see what Roland has up his sleeve for the next Pop-Up Theatre.

Tickets at R150 pp (various discounts and packages are available) can be booked via Computicket or contact Roland on 082 499 8636 or email

Bring food picnic baskets, Limited secure parking available. Bar Available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises) For more information visit - Keith Millar