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Saturday, April 6, 2019


(Tonya Koenderman)

Let chanteuse Tonya Koenderman transport you to an intimate restaurant or smoky club on the Champs Élysées in Paris. (Review by Keith Millar)

Nobody does it like the French!

So if it’s a night of passionate, soulful, emotional music, filled with drama and romance that you are after, get yourself to Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre and let chanteuse Tonya Koenderman transport you to an intimate restaurant or smoky club on the Champs Élysées in Paris.

Seasoned cabaret star Tonya Koenderman is living proof that dynamite comes in small packages. This petite, vivacious singer with a playful personality is blessed with a powerful and versatile voice. She puts this to good use in delivering an eclectic mix of songs, both from celebrated French singers or with some sort of French connection.

Koenderman is perhaps best known for her celebrated impersonations, both physically and vocally, of the great Lisa Minnelli. She has considerable stage presence and an easy charm - and with her ever-present glass of wine, elegant evening wear and assisted by moody lighting she easily creates the atmosphere of A Night In Paris.

The show includes songs from the legendary “little sparrow” Edith Piaf such as the powerful Non, je ne regrette rein (No Regrets), La Vie En Rose and Mon Dieux. From Belgium born, but quintessential Frenchman, Jacques Brel, there is Ne me quitte pas (If you Go Away) and Amsterdam. From Charles Aznavour there is Quiet Love and Yves Montand Autumn Leaves.

Also in the first half are Cole Porter’s I Love Paris, Julie Andrew’s Le Jazz Hot from the movie Victor Victoria, Marline Dietrich’s haunting Lili Marlene and intriguingly Habanera from Bizet’s opera Carmen.

The second half of the show is made up of songs which are less obviously French but have some tenuous link to the country.

The highlight is Lisa Minnelli’s Cabaret from the production of the same name. The link is that the word cabaret is originally French. A long stretch but who cares when it is such great music? As mentioned, Koenderman is an outstanding Minnelli impersonator and she proves this with her excellent rendition of this song.

Also heard are C'est si bon (Eartha Kitt), Nature Boy (Nat King Cole), My Baby Cares For Me (Nina Simone), and Dream a Little Dream Of Me (Ella Fitzgerald).

Koenderman performs to excellent back tracks – some of the best I have heard. However, I would have loved to hear this show with a live band or at least with a piano backing. It would have lifted what is a very good cabaret show into the realms of exceptional.

This being said, A Night In Paris remains a highly recommended show which should not be missed.

Performances of A Night In Paris with Tonya Koenderman take place until April 14 with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 20h00 and on Sundays at 14h00. The venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner.

Tickets R150 (R130 pensioners, students with a valid student card and tables of eight or more) R75 for under 13s. NB: Discounts apply 1st week ONLY. Booking is through Computicket or contact Roland on 082 499 8636, email (also for group booking discounts of 20 or more) or visit

Take along food picnic baskets. Braais will be available. There is limited secure parking and booking is essential. A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Durban is situated at 42 Cunningham Road off Bartle Road in Umbilo. - Keith Millar