national Arts Festival Banner

Sunday, March 14, 2021



(Pics by Carol King)

The 1980s is considered the most favoured tune decade of the last 60 years. So Barnyard Theatre at Suncoast chose this theme to celebrate its return to activity since lockdown regulations forced it to close.

What a joyous celebration this was – to re-visit this highly popular venue with its comfortable and informal set-up, pizzas available and a well-stocked bar. The stage, large enough to accommodate cast and musicians with space to dance, has good sound and excellent lighting equipment.

Against this background, the Barnyard is presenting a top group of artists to turn the clock back and run through the 80s decade featuring popular numbers. Powerful screen visuals reminded us of things such as the Rubix Cube, Pac-Man, VHS tapes and audio cassettes.

The cast is headed by Kyle Matthews with Raymond Ray; Savannah de Beer; Rory Booth and Kerry Cherry sharing the vocals. Calli Thompson is on keys and Barry Thompson alternates with Jason Kylen on guitar. On bass is Bongani with Dylan van der Linde (drums) and Kirsty van der Linde (sax). Kylen was in last night’s show and gave several fine solo pieces. The vocalists are dressed in 80s style and represent the styles of the original singers.

From the explosive opening Shout/Everybody Wants to Rule the World, the audience needed no encouragement to respond to Matthews’ call for a “Rewind” shouted response when he called “80s”. Neither did they need to be urged to get to their feet and dance along to the numbers they loved.

Matthews is a great personality and a good anchor man whose best number was Lean on Me. I was delighted to see my friend Rory Booth back on the stage and I was impressed with his appearance with Ray in Take a Chance on Me which was a send-up of the ABBA song. I have watched de Beer grow in capacity since I first saw her at the Rockwood Theatre when she was still a schoolgirl - Bette Davis Eyes was a perfect number for her. Cherry gave memorable performances of Let the River Run and Power of Love.

Other numbers to expect are Get Down to It, Rhythm of the Night, Flash Dance, Juke Box Hero, Danger Zone, Raining Men, Just Can’t Get Enough and Summer of 69 as well as local numbers Kilimanjaro and Africa.

The cast and musicians work well as an ensemble piece and the show is full of energetic and infectious exuberance. My only problem was that some of the medleys didn’t always flow easily from song to song.

So, there’s a bit of everything for all with some fun in the mix. My two companions, who are far more knowledgeable about 80s music than I am, both agreed that it was a great show which brought back many memories.

The production is directed by Duck Chowles with Calli Thomson as musical director. Choreography is by Matthew and de Beer and the costumes were drawn from the Barnyard Wardrobe in Johannesburg. My favourite was Kirsty van der Linde’s gold outfit in Leave Your Hat On. She is also one of the show’s top attractions handling her saxophone with complete command.

80s Rewind runs until May 30, 2021, at the Barnyard Theatre. Tickets R195. Shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 19h00 and Sundays at 14h00 (pensioners and children under 12 50% off). Limited to two youngsters per paying, full price – adult. (Specials exclude Fundraisers. Valid for Barnyard Productions only):

Weekday afternoon and evening shows available for large group bookings or venue hire on request.

Contact The Barnyard Theatre Suncoast on 031 940 0500 or book online at:

The Barnyard Theatre is part of Suncoast Casino, Suncoast Boulevard, O R Tambo Parade in Durban. – Caroline Smart