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Sunday, May 30, 2021


(Above: Cat Simoni & Lucy Tops)

They blew me away from the very beginning … All round a hugely enjoyable experience. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The latest production at Rhumbelow Theatre featured Cat Simoni and Lucy Tops in Clash of the Divas. These are two extremely talented performers equally matched in their vocal singing skills, versatility across the genres and their capacity for easy-going humour.

While Simoni is well-known by KZN audiences, this is the first time we have seen Tops, a Capetonian actress and vocalist. Their cabaret show at The Kalk Bay Theatre Cat & Lucy! Divine Divas/Clash of the Divas was a major hit.

Wearing sparkling and glamorous costumes, they presented a highly varied programme which ranges from well-known 80s numbers, rock to classics, swing to soul – we even get the Wedding March, William Tell and a snippet of Katchachurian! They blew me away from the very beginning.

The pair work extremely well together - boasting about their careers in cabaret and musical theatre which has seen them performing around the world. There are lots of fun moments with mock arguments and amusing interjections in songs such as Well, Did you Ever? They also altered I Will Survive a bit to focus on Covid!

Both have impressive vocal ranges, occasionally reaching impressively high notes which couldn’t fail but get a major response from the audience. Tops showed her power in Yellow Brick Road while Simoni displayed her sensitive side in Creep in F.

Simoni described herself as a youngster as “Too Westville to be a rock chick” and was “a little bit of a nerd”. Absolutely no sign of that now. Having trained in opera at the University of KZN, she also proves that she’s just as good a pianist as a singer when she takes to the keyboard.

Tops brought the house down with her rendition of Otto Titsling and Simoni delivered much humour and sexy movement in Patricia the Stripper. More amusement came in Dance Monkey in which they accurately imagined well-known stars like Celine Dion, Lilly Allen, Toni Braxton, Dolly Parton and Shakira handling it.

Their Bohemian Rhapsody was splendid and a highlight of the show.

Simoni dedicated their final number, Abba’s Thank You for the Music, to Roland Stansell who runs the Rhumbelow circuit, for his dedication and perseverance in keeping musical theatre alive.

The lighting added to the sparkle of the show and the sound was well-balanced. Clash of the Divas is a perfect length, leaving you wanting more but full of appreciation for what you’ve had. All round a hugely enjoyable experience.

Unfortunately, this will be Simoni’s last show as she is leaving soon for the UK but maybe she can be persuaded to return some time in the future to do a tour with Tops of this great production.

Rhumbelow celebrates 20 years of its existence this year. For more information on Rhumbelow productions visit - Caroline Smart