national Arts Festival Banner

Friday, May 10, 2019


The energy emanating from the stage has to be seen to be believed. (Review by Barry Meehan)

The truly thunderous opening of Rhythm of the Night at the Suncoast Barnyard is ample proof that the venue has now got its sound spot-on, a huge improvement after a somewhat sketchy start during their previous Rock Circus offering, which opened the venue a couple of months back. Waves of sound hammer through the audience, showcasing a truly great band, amply aided and abetted by exceptional vocals from a very professional cast.

The Cubanesque set is ideal, with various levels being cleverly used by the show’s choreographer and director. And hats off for the lighting design, which was subtle when required, and blended into the overall style of the show during the ensemble numbers.

And what an ensemble this is! The energy emanating from the stage has to be seen to be believed. Even if you are not be the biggest fan of Latin-American music, you cannot fail to be bowled over by the exuberance of the cast and band, the powerful vocals and the outright professionalism of the dancers, who are an immense part of this show, taking it to a whole new level of entertainment.

Angelique Allison, Ryan Hamond and Simone Kruger really add to the dynamics with some superb dance numbers, the most noticeable being during Adage, featuring some outstanding and rather breath-taking lifts.

Not to be outdone, the singers – Themba January, Zoey Townsend and Ruben Lotter – all of whom are consummate performers, dance their little socks off during the group numbers. And yes, they actually dance, not just move like so many local performers. Their vocals are crisp and clear, and the three of them are obviously very much at home in this genre.

My only misgiving about this show is the semi-Speedy Gonzales type impersonation adopted by January as compere. I believe that if you’re going to do an over-the-top character, go the whole hog. The dialogue and impersonation came off as somewhat half-baked, but this is a minor point and doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the experience.

Special mention must be made of the band – MD Jaydine Baron on keyboards, Jason Guile on guitar (acoustic and electric, sometimes alternating between them during numbers) and vocals, Thumelo Thipenyane on bass, and drummer Nkosinathi Nguheni, who pounds out some amazing rhythms, moving the show along at a frenetic pace.

There’s not much point in listing all the numbers in the show, but you’ll enjoy classic Latin-American hits such as Oye Como Va, Bailando, Quando Quando Quando, Black Magic Woman, Hips Don’t Lie, She Bangs, Let’s Get Loud, Maria Maria, Smooth, Mambo #5, Un Dos Tres, Macarena and Fireball. There are a couple of numbers that don’t quite fit into the genre,but work, anyway – Cell Block Tango from Chicago, The Animals hit Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and She’s Not There, a Zombies classic. Be that as it may, Rhythm of the Night is a great show and well worth seeing!

Rhythm of the Night runs until June 9, 2019, with shows from Wednesday to Saturday at 19h30. Tickets R165 (Sundays at 14h00 R130 (pensioners 50% off). Under 12s free (2 kids per full-price paying adult.)

Bookings through Suncoast on 031 940 0500. – Barry Meehan