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Saturday, September 5, 2020


(Pics by Sharon Watters)

“Kitten On The Keys” is a most enjoyable show which serves as a fitting re-opening of the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo. (Review by Keith Millar)

The Covid 19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown has been, and remains, an oppressive influence on everybody’s lifestyles.

On a personal level, the dearth of any live theatre or music has been particularly hard to swallow. No on-line performance can make up for the magic of being entertained by an artist in a live environment.

Now at last there is a light at the end of the tunnel as the first live music production in Durban for the past five-and-a-half months opened this week-end.

And the trail blazer? None other than Durban’s ubiquitous Rhumbelow Theatre.

Fully-fogged, sanitised, social-distanced and meeting all the stringent Covid safety protocols to ensure the welfare of the patrons, the doors of the theatre were opened on Friday night. And what a joy it was to be back amongst friends enjoying fabulous live music. Like manna from heaven.

Re-opening the theatre is the gifted musician Calli Thomson. Musical director, pianist, keyboard player and singer, she has appeared in numerous shows around the country.

She has been a stalwart of the Barnyard circuit and has appeared regularly in Durban at venues such as the Heritage, Barnyard, Catalina, and Sneddon Theatres.

Now she has put together a delightful solo show, entitled Kitten On The Keys which pays tribute to the artists that have influenced her creative life, as well honours her favourite animal, cats.

Interspersed with brief anecdotes and “cat ”puns Calli does great justice to an eclectic selection music which includes a bit of jazz, blues, ballads, rock  and a touch of comedy.

Included are artists such as Sher, Nina Simone, Nora Jones, Annie Lennox, Duran Duran, Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Procul Harem, Dianna Krall, Bonnie Tyler, Pink Floyd, Dixie Chicks Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood mac and Sting. The humour is added by an Australian band called The Cat Empire.

Thomson appears on a stage decorated by a veritable menagerie of stuffed toys. She has the A-team assisting her with lighting by Tina Le Roux, sound by Andre Norden and direction by Brian Hyles.

Thomson is a consummate performer and she moves through her show with skill, charm, and great musicality. Kitten On The Keys is a most enjoyable show which serves as a fitting re-opening of the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo.

Whilst Rhumbelow is not changing its 2020 pricing, the theatre asks its audiences to assist it - and the performers - by donating a higher ticket price.

Tickets R160 (R140 pensioners and students with a valid student card). Loyalty Card Holders (R130) ALL SHOWS

Bring food picnic baskets or buy from Kevin at the venue.

All seating will be at separate tables and the theatre will obviously be seating co-habiting couples and/or family members together.


Rhumbelow Theatre is situated at 42 Cunningham Road off Bartle Road, Durban. Limited secure parking is available and there is a cash bar (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises)

All tickets must be pre-booked - no walk-ins allowed

Booking is essential - email or - Keith Millar



1. Patrons need to wear a face and nose covering at all times in the venue except when eating or drinking.

2. All patrons will have their temperatures taken on arrival at the venue.

3. All patrons will be required to complete documents relating to Travel and Covid-19 contacts.

4. All patrons will be required to complete an indemnity form.

5. All patrons will be required to complete an attendance register with all appropriate information including confirmation of co-habiting when couples attend.

6. All patrons will be hand sanitized on arrival and at interval.

7. All patrons will be requested to bring hand sanitizer with them to the venue.

8. Any patron who does not meet the required Health & Safety protocols and temperature check will be refused entry.

9. Patrons above the age of 60 or a person with co-morbidities will be discouraged from attending performances. (Note: Discouraged as per Government Guidelines)