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Saturday, November 10, 2018


(Pic by Barry Meehan)

For me, Kirsty van der Linde (Madgin) was the star of the show, showing considerable dynamism and presence on stage. (Review by Keith Millar)

The latest offering by the Rockwood Theatre at the Sibaya Casino, which features music from the last five decades, has the feeling of something that has been cobbled together at the last minute. It is under rehearsed, worn out, cliched and I am afraid to say, not very well executed.

Like all Barnyard style shows, one cannot fault it for energy. But in this case, the energy is poured into poor choreography, some rather poor singing and a decidedly sub-standard technical effort.

However, it must be said that many in the audience had come to party - and with plenty of pounding music, liquid refreshments and good company they seemed to have a ball.

The show is long, in the region of three hours including the interval, and features an eclectic selection of hit music from the 1970’s up to today.

From the 70’s, amongst others, are You Should be Dancing and Staying Alive from the Bee Gees, Isn’t She Lovely from Stevie Wonder, Money, Money Money, Gimme Gimme and Voulez Vous from Abba and  Queens Crazy Little Thing.

Moving on to the 80’s, they feature the likes of Lionel Ritchie with Dancing On the Ceiling and All Night Long and three Madonna songs, Material Girl, Papa Don’t Preach and Like a Virgin.

Included from the 1990’s are songs which were featured in movies such as Love Fool from Romeo and Juliet, Kiss From A Rose from Batman Forever and New Age Girl from Dumb and Dumber – as well as a segment on one hit wonders which included What is Love, Who Let the Dogs Out and Ice Ice.

From the 2000’s are songs like Since You’ve Been Gone from Kelly Clarkson, How You Remind Me from Nickelback and a trio of Lady Gaga’s songs, and from the 2010’s there’s the likes of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and Meghan Trainor’s Lips Are Moving. The latter included a fast costume change act which was a bit of a failure.

Leading the cast for this show is Andrew Webster, who also takes on the role of host. Webster who is something of a veteran of the stage, having been performing for 28 years, still displays plenty of energy. Others in the cast include Ofentse Mokhuane, Jemma Badenhorst, Jessica De Wet and Christina Jenkins. The latter is an extremely flexible dancer who provided plenty of splits and high kicks. However, one could not help wondering why - because it happened at random times and did not have much context to the narrative of the songs.

The backing band was made up of Callie Thompson (keyboards), Dylan van der Linde (drums), Sheldon van Grimm (guitar) and Tieron Donjeany (bass).

They were joined by Kirsty van der Linde (Madgin) on sax. For me, she was the star of the show. She has grown a lot in her performance career and, other than her obvious musical talent, she shows considerable dynamism and presence on stage. She impressed with her performance in Pick Up The Pieces and Baker Street from the 70’s and Mr Saxbeat from the 2010’s.

Let’s get back to the technical problems experienced in the show. I have had the opportunity to sit both downstairs and on the first balcony of the Rockwood Theatre. Downstairs I experienced no problems with the sound and, in fact, found it quite good. Unfortunately, on the balcony this is not the case. The overall sound quality has a strange muddy quality and lacks presence. It is almost impossible to clearly hear what the vocalists are singing about. I am sure it does not help the sound man that he is sitting on this level.

To make matters worse on this occasion the sound man missed several queues. Musicians would be in the spotlight playing their hearts out, but we were unable to hear them in the mix.

Lighting also experienced problems. Rockwood’s excellent fancy illuminations were used to good effect, but other than a single follow spot and a couple of lights on the side of the stage, there appears to be little to light on the singers and they were left to perform in the semi-dark on occasion. Particularly when they rushed out into the audience, which they did with monotonous regularity.

It is early days in the run of this production so one can only hope that they come to terms with the problems, tighten up, and in my opinion edit some of the weaker moments out of the show. As it stands, my overall opinion is that this show offers nothing new and fresh and is just “same old, same old!.

Best of the Decades runs until January 27, 2019. Thursday tickets cost R99 per person, Friday to Sunday tickets cost R130, children U12 are free and pensioners will receive 50% discount on Sundays, Terms and Conditions apply.

To reserve tickets contact 031 161 0000 or visit or the booking office at Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom. – Keith Millar