A pantomime to delight the senses

Suter’s Showbiz Spotlight

Hard to believe that a whole decade has zoomed by since we last had the Cinderella pantomime on stage in Durban, that season in 2008 having been a bigger and better revival of the 2004 production which marked the first of the KickstArt theatre company’s 14 annual pantomimes.

The first KickstArt Cinderella was a postage stamp production staged at the now-defunct KwaSuka Theatre in Greyville, and it is heart-warming to see how this KickstArt “baby” has developed and grown over the years.

This year’s Cinderella, which runs until January 6 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, is as much a bumper delight as one could anticipate. Richly embroidered with fresh topicality in song choices, nudge-winks and performances, it is a giddy, glossy and gorgeous show from the Durban duo with the Midas touch – award-winning writer-director Steven Stead and designer Greg King.

Spectacular sets

It boasts an attractive and talented cast, some splendid voices, uniformally good lighting from Tina le Roux and spectacular sets from King.

Ticket prices for Cinderella range from R140 to R240 each. Booking is at Computicket outlets. Oh, and note that the theatre has its own generator so loadshedding should pose no problems.
For my full review of the show click here

Meanwhile, the final Music in the Hills (MiTH) event for 2018 is planned from 7pm on Wednesday, December 19, in a barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Drive, Hilton.

The Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters perform next Wednesday, December 19, in Hilton, at the last MiTH event of the year.

The MiTH Band will open the evening with a festive set of tunes, followed by Midlands-based folk-rock band The Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters with a retrospective tribute to the members’ 27 years together. Expect social commentary and quirky tunes from their two CDs, both of which will be on sale. The evening will end with some fun, well-known tunes with a bunch of MiTH mates.

MiTH is a semi-open mic music club. Take along your own booze. Food and soft drinks are on sale. For more details phone Charles Webster at 082 331 7271 or Doug Borain at 072 340 7034.

Music on the menu in Durban this weekend includes hit band Just Jinjer performing from 8pm on Friday, December 14, at Durban’s new events venue, The Globe – the giant white tent near the parking area of Suncoast Casino.

The trio of Ard Matthews on vocals and guitar, Denholm Harding on bass and Brent Harris on drums has produced numerous highly acclaimed rock albums, with hits including All Comes Around and the recent Wonderful World.

Just Jinjer perform on Friday, December 14, at The Globe, the new venue at Durban’s Suncoast Casino.

Maroon 5

Just Jinjer has shared stages with U2, Counting Crows, INXS and Maroon 5, to mention a few. The band’s supporting act for The Globe gig will be Anna Wolf, a South African singer-songwriter who began her career in music as Tailor.

Tickets are on sale at Computicket from R125.

Also worth noting is that talented Josh Swanson and Friends will entertain at Durban’s Jazzy Rainbow at 93 Smiso Nkwanyana Road, Morningside, from 7pm on Saturday, December 15. Admission is R50, including a free drink for students, and more details are available by calling 031 303 8398.

Swanson’s backing band on Saturday will feature Siyalo Zulu on trombone, Giyani Shangase on bass, Jaedon Daniel on piano, Byron Thumbu on drums and Josh Swanson on guitar. These musicians all met at UKZN music school.

Jazz man Josh Swanson entertains with friends at Durban’s Jazzy Rainbow on Saturday, December 15.

The first set will consist of jazz standards associated with Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Wes Montgomery and Miles Davis. The second set will consist of original jazz compositions by the band members.

Concerts SA Venue Circuit

This performance is part of the Concerts SA Venue Circuit which aims to foster a love and support for live music in our communities, as well as anchor small and medium-sized venues in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Swanson grew up in Amanzimtoti. At age 11 he was given a second-hand guitar and, through the use of books and experimentation, taught himself to play.

Following the Trinity programme, Josh continued to teach himself and his passion for music and guitar led him to the Foundation music programme offered by UKZN. This platform led Josh to enter into the BMUS Degree programme at UKZN.

Josh is interested in many music genres. However, it was on the Foundation music programme that he developed a love for jazz.

If it’s music and mirth you seek, look no further than screwball twosome Lisa Bobbert and husband Aaron McIlroy, who will present a zany collage of comedy and song, Bloopers, at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel, 14 Beryldene Road, Kloof, from December 14 to 24. Tickets cost R180 each (not the usual R150).

Performances of Bloopers are scheduled for 8pm on December 14 and 15, and 2pm on December 16. Additional shows are scheduled for 8pm on December 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22, and at 2pm on December 23 and 24.

Lisa Bobbert and Aaron McIlroy.

Bobbert and McIlroy cover subjects ranging from self-deprecation to cultural appropriation, landfills, land grabs, hand grabs, cannabis oil and the ridiculous things we humans get up to… all set to a rocking musical back beat!

Book at Computicket outlets or phone Roland at 082 499 8636.

Now read: Ride of a lifetime in Indian Himalayas

Also note that the showband fun at Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre in Cunningham Road, Umbilo, this weekend and next sees singer-guitarist Barry Thomson, bassist Andy Turrell, keyboardist Dawn Selby, singer Marion Loudon and drummer Adrian Wilson presenting Christmas Crackers.

Performances are scheduled for 8pm on December 14, 15, 21 and 22, with 2pm matinees on Sundays, December 16 and 23, and Mondays, December 17 and 24.

“Following our crowd-pleasing formula, our festive fare includes some jolly Christmas singalong favourites and hit songs from Barry and his band The Reals’ most popular tribute shows of 2018, including items from Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits, Bad Company, Neil Diamond and British Invasion,” says a venue spokesman.

Call Roland at 082 499 8636 for more info.

For charity: The Santa Schoolbox project

Meanwhile, a reminder that Durban’s 22nd annual naughty panto for adults, Twice Upon a Mattress – The Princess and the P, is running until January 12 at the cosy OnStage@Altitude, in Silver Avenue, Stamford Hill.

Written and directed by Thomie Holtzhausen, Twice Upon a Mattress – The Story of The Princess and the P has a very loose theme indeed, but there are sufficient good jokes and funny lines, as well as a varied song selection and some exuberant performances, to ensure the pile of nonsense makes for a highly enjoyable night out.

From 7.30pm to 9.30pm every Wednesday to Saturday. Patrons are encouraged to take along their own picnic baskets or snacks, but drinks must be bought at the venue’s small pub.

For further information, or to book as a group, contact Thomie of It’sTaboo Production at 064 476 9533. Online bookings can be done via Quicket.

For my full review click here

A scene from Elliot the Littlest Reindeer, new on the big screen this weekend.

On the movie scene, new in cinemas countrywide this weekend is Second Act, teaming Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens. Directed by Peter Segal, the film centres on a big-box store worker reinventing her life and her life-story to show Madison Avenue what street smarts can do.

Another new release is Elliot the Littlest Reindeer, an animated adventure with the voice talents of John Cleese and Josh Hutcherson. Directed by Jennifer Westcott, it tells of reindeer Blitzen announcing his retirement on December 21 and a miniature horse having three days to fulfil his lifelong dream of earning a spot on Santa’s team.

SHOWBIZ TRIVIA:
Do you know? What Wham Christmas hit contained the lyric: “…but the very next day, you gave it away”? (Answer next week).
Last week’s question: What stomping singalong number by British band Slade, a huge hit in the1970s, has since been covered by REM, Train, Girls Aloud, Cheap Trick, Oasis, Tony Christie and Steps, among others? (Answer: Merry Christmas Everybody).

KZN Midlands events, read here