If you are in Durban and seeking a fun way to round out this year and welcome 2019, consider a trip to the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel in Beryldene Road, Kloof, where singer-guitarist Barry Thomson (pictured above) and friends are performing until December 31.

With Dawn Selby on keyboards and vocals, Andy Turrell on bass, Adrian Wilson on drums and Marion Loudon on vocals and percussion, the show features highlights from productions Barry’s band, The Reals, have performed during the year. Expect hit songs from Fleetwood Mac, Woodstock icons, Dire Straits, Bad Company, Neil Diamond and more.

Performances are at 8pm Friday to Sunday, then 2pm on Sunday and 9pm on Monday (New Year’s Eve). Tickets cost R150 each and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636.

Pianist and composer Lindi Ngonelo is scheduled for three KwaZulu-Natal performances. Picture by Lindo Mbhele.

Also note that pianist and composer Lindi Ngonelo will entertain with her band at three venues soon – Seaman’s Corner, Unit 3, Hammarsdale, from 6pm on Saturday, December 29 (admission R30); at KwaMashu’s Artizen Lounge from 5pm on Sunday, December 30 (admission R150); and the Luthuli Museum in Groutville from 6pm on Friday, January 4 (admission R30).

These concerts will be presented in association with Concerts SA, Seaman’s Corner, Artizen Lounge, Luthuli Museum and iSupport Music Business.

Ngonelo will perform alongside Freeman Gumede on bass, Mxolisi Mdlalose on sax, Siyanda Zulu on trumpet and Sbu Zondi on drums.

Performance background

Ngonelo holds a Bachelor of Practical Music Degree from the University of Kwazulu-Natal as well as a Bachelor of Music (Hons) from the University of Pretoria.

She is currently a music teacher at the East Rand School of the Arts in Benoni and was a music lecturer at the University of Kwazulu-Natal between 2012 and 2013.

Her performance background spans many years and a variety of genres including jazz, Afro-pop, gospel, funk and hip-hop. Her experience includes being pianist for household names such as Heels over Head, Tu Nokwe, Swazi Dlamini, Nomsa Mazwai and Brenda Mntambo.

Also on stage at Artizen in KwaMashu, on December 30, will be Phili Faya and her band. Faya is a recording artist and songwriter who sings pop, Afro-pop and deep Afro-soul music.

Lustrous showcase

A reminder that the excellent two-hander, Woza, Albert, has final performances at Durban’s Playhouse Drama between December 27 and 30. Tickets cost R150 and are available at Computicket outlets or the Playhouse box office at 031 369 9540 / 369 9596 (office hours).

The production, starring Percy Mtwa and Mbongeni Ngema – who originated the roles of this 1980s classic – has long been one of the country’s finest examples of protest theatre and a lustrous showcase for exemplary, imaginative acting.

Seeing it again almost four decades after its debut, this time under the direction of Christopher John, the work remains as powerful as ever. Topical as ever too, as for all the changes in this beautiful land since Woza, Albert first stabbed with its satire, the revival underscores just how much has stayed the same.

Woza, Albert is one of the highlights of my theatre-going year and is highly recommended. Read my full review by clicking here

Meander Chronicle news: Ride of a lifetime in the Himalayas

Still in Durban, note that if you do only one thing with the kids this festival season make sure it is to visit the historic Botanic Gardens for the second annual Trail of Lights, a spectacular display of festive lighting.

Tickets cost only R50 a head online and it is real value for money – and profits go to various charities.
Trail of Lights involves the gardens being illuminated with thousands of coloured lights, as well as special costumed characters and features such as Santa in his Sleigh, a large Talking Tree, an ice-blue castle, a fairy nook and the like.

An initiative in support of various charities, Trail of Lights will be available from 6.30pm to 9.30pm nightly, until December 30.

Besides a number of illuminated attractions – including many rows of tree trunks in different sparkling hues, angels, swans, giant paper butterflies, candy canes with bows and signs; signs saying Joy, Peace and Love, and a collection of Zulu shields – the event also features live music daily at the park’s lake area.

The music flows from 7.30pm to 8.30pm – and includes not only piped carols but also performances by solo artists dotted around the park.

Elliot Ndlovu’s on a mission for tradition

A reminder that another big Durban treat for children this year is Cinderella, the 14th pantomime by the KickstArt theatre company.

The show, 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, glittering and gorgeous show from the Durban duo with the Midas touch – award-winning writer-director Steven Stead and designer Greg King.

Ticket range from R140 to R240 each. Booking is at Computicket outlets. The theatre has its own generator so load shedding should pose no problems.

For my full review of the show click here

Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx in the new-look Robin Hood, now in cinemas countrywide.

On the movie scene, among films new in cinemas countrywide this weekend is Robin Hood, directed by Otto Bathurst and starring Jamie Foxx, Taron Egerton and Ben Mendelsohn.

It’s about a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander mounting an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, fight choreography and a timeless romance.

SHOWBIZ TRIVIA:
Do you know? Which actress played the character Solitaire in the James Bond movie, Live and Let Die? (Answer next week).
Last week’s question: What was the name of the trendy toy that Arnold Schwarzenegger battled to find for his young son while Christmas shopping in the 1996 film comedy, Jingle All the Way? (Answer: Turbo-Man).