Suter’s Showbiz Spotlight

If you seek the perfect way to swing into the new year, consider a drive to Durban to catch the first show of the year at the Umbilo Rhumbelow Theatre in Cunningham Road, off Bartle Road.

It is Our Favourite Swings, featuring Durban’s popular Platform Jazz band with guest vocalist Bryan Hiles. It is a lively show scheduled for performances at 8pm on January 12 and 2pm on January 13, as well 8pm on January 18, 2pm and 8pm on January 19, and 2pm on January 20.

Platform Jazz is a colourful, seasoned jazz band led by Cathy Peacock on trumpet, and featuring Kirsten Sayers on clarinet, Jeff Robinson on sax and flute, David Solomon on trombone, Andreas Kappen on double-bass, Melvin Peters on keyboards and Bruce Baker on drums.

Toe-tapping

With singer-actor Bryan Hiles, the band will offer a toe-tapping programme of swing favourites and songs made famous by, among others, Robbie Williams, Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra. There will also be some Dixieland music, Latin numbers, show tunes and original compositions.

Durban band Platform Jazz with guest vocalist Bryan Hiles (bottom left). Catch their Our Favourite Swings show in Durban this weekend.

Hiles will charm in numbers such as Have You met Miss Jones?, Beyond the Sea, C’est si Bon and Sway, and the band will entertain with numbers such as My Favourite Things, Chicago and In the Mood.

Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with a valid student card). Booking is at Computicket or via Roland at 082 499 8636.

A scene from Big Top Rock, currently at Durban’s new Barnyard Theatre at Suncoast Casino.

Another Durban choice, the first show at the new Barnyard Theatre at Durban’s Suncoast Casino, between the casino’s parking lot and beachfront promenade, is doing well.

It’s a fun venue, if more cramped and smaller that the Gateway Barnyard Theatre which closed at the end of 2016.

Big Top Rock

The production there now, until February 24, is Big Top Rock, a reworking of a show staged locally on the Barnyard circuit some years ago. It is a wonderfully entertaining show which, if perhaps not as good as the original production I remember seeing at the Gateway Barnyard years ago, makes for an ideal choice to launch the new theatre.

Songs performed in the show range from a medley of Elvis Presley hits and AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, to Prince’s Purple Rain, Pitbull’s Fireball, Evanescence’s My Immortal, The Beatles’s Sergeant Peppers and hits associated with, among others, Def Leppard, Aerosmith and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Big Top Rock has performances at 7.30pm every Tuesday to Thursday, when tickets cost R165 (Tuesday tickets are two-for-one price). Performances on Fridays and Saturdays are at 8pm, when tickets cost R165 each.

Light meals

Sunday shows are at 2pm and tickets cost R130 each (pensioners pay half price and under-12s get in free, for telephonic bookings only).

Note that one can take along one’s own food although a variety of light meals and platters can be bought at the venue. A full menu is available on the theatre’s website.

All drinks have to be bought at the theatre’s bar.

For more details or to book phone call 031 940 0500. For my full review of the show, click here

Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal in a scene from Wildlife, new in cinemas countrywide this weekend.

On the movie scene, among films new in cinemas countrywide this weekend is Final Score, an action-thriller centred on a former soldier with lethal fighting skills who, after deadly terrorists abduct his niece at a soccer match, wages a one-man war to save her and prevent mass destruction. Directed by Scott Mann, the movie teams Dave Bautista, Pierce Brosnan and Ray Stevenson.

Another new release is Wildlife, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan and Ed Oxenbould under the direction of Paul Dano.

It tells of a teenage boy who must deal with his mother’s complicated response after his father temporarily abandons them to take a menial and dangerous job.

SHOWBIZ TRIVIA:
Do you know? What huge pop star of the 1970s had a novelty hit in 1973 with The Laughing Gnome, originally released as a flop single in 1967? (Answer next week).
Last week’s question: What hit stage musical starring Joan Brickhill featured a very young Claire Johnson of Mango Groove? (Answer: Annie).