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Friday, December 21, 2018


Splendid new Barnyard inside and out! (Review by Caroline Smart)

The auditorium is standard Barnyard style with seating at long tables on a floor level, a raised area around the auditorium and a second level above it. The wide stage is flanked by the distinctive Barnyard banners but this is a whole new experience compared to the Gateway venue.

Big Top Rock is apparently the biggest, most entertaining and daring show ever produced by The Barnyard Theatres. The new Durban theatre certainly rose to the challenge of staging it.

What a joy it must have been to be able to create a theatre space from scratch, installing state of the art lighting, technical equipment and the capacity to run a show like Big Top Rock with all its aerial acts. The lighting was superb. There were a few problems with the sound but I was given to understand that these are in the process of being sorted out.

The Ringmaster, Wayne Cumming in traditional circus garb introduces the show, a German accent giving everything a Joel Grey (Cabaret) feel. A large black and white checked box is rolled onto the stage from which emerges Peyton Amber, the attractive female star of the show.

From then on, the pace is fast and highly energetic with an array of impressive costumes.

(Chivonne Naude & Sam Kotze)

Fun moments included Cumming’s C’est La Vie battling with a mischievous spotlight. Areal ring work was beautifully executed by Chivonne Naude and Sam Kotze’s awe-inspiring silk number, both with their impeccable timing and control, were undeniable highlights of the show, along with their other sensual acts on the pole and various pieces of aerial apparatus.

The three dancers - Dana De Agrella; Nicholas Vries and Hoze Jonas - also proved their capacity for acrobatics in some excellent choreography. They were particularly impressive as a group of dancing zombies in the Thriller sequence joined by Naude and Kotze.

Added to this excellent mix was a very tight band. Musical Director James Dobson is on keyboards and gave a highly entertaining rendering of an Elton John medley. On lead guitar (and occasional vocals) is Mike Raven with Lihle Ndimande on bass and Rohan Blignaut on drums.

The programme includes well-known and favourite numbers by Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Pink, Def Leppard, ACDC, Kings of Leon, Aerosmith, Pitbull, The Beatles and Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name a few.

It’s a splendid new Barnyard inside and out. With twirling, tumbling, flying and showers of glitter, there are thrills a-plenty in this production which is definitely worth seeing!

Big Top Rock runs at the new Barnyard Theatre at Suncoast until February 24, 2019. Performances Tuesdays to Thursdays R165 (Tuesdays Buy 1 Get 1 free) at 19h30; Fridays and Saturdays R165 at 20h00, and Sundays at 14h00 R130 (youngsters under 12 free and pensioners 50% off - telephonic bookings only).

To view all specials, more info and online bookings: Telephonic bookings on 031 940 0500. – Caroline Smart