That's Life at Cowan House

AFTER 39 years as a journalist at The Mercury in Durban, 24 of them as the newspaper’s arts editor, I took voluntary retrenchment in December 2016, but did not hang up my computer mouse.

Nope, instead, for fun, I took a dive into the cyber realm and launched my own showbiz and leisure site (SoSuterBill.com) in January 2017, where I continue to offer news, views, reviews and interviews with emphasis on the KwaZulu-Natal local entertainment and leisure scene.

I am loving it, so it gives me great pleasure that former colleagues and long-time friends Garth Johnstone and Nerissa Card – in whose very capable hands The Meander Chronicle now rests – have given me the opportunity to further extend my reach.

This is the first of a new Friday online column in which I will offer suggestions for some of the best local entertainment choices available. I will close each column with some fun showbiz trivia.

So, without further ado, on with the show…

A must-do in Hilton this weekend is That’s Life, A Durban cabaret that had rave reviews at Kloof’s Tina’s Hotel in April and will be staged again at 2.30pm on Sunday, June 3, at the Cowan House Theatre at Cowan House school, 11 Dennis Shepstone Drive, Hilton.

Tickets cost R60 each and booking is by clicking here

Featuring (pictured above) versatile Durban pianist Evan Roberts, That’s Life stars former The Voice SA contestant Samantha Landers and Durban vocal coach Shylo Pereira, a 2010 Idols contestant, a blonde with a beautiful, versatile voice and a charming stage presence.

Pereira, who is also adept on violin and piano, talents not showcased in That’s Life, is quite an exciting find, and I hope we get to see a lot more of her on local stages.

Both she and the sweet, amiable Landers, a delight in her comfort zone with character songs and ballads, are in excellent voice in That’s Life.

Each shines in demanding solo performances and in harmony with one another in a production making use of excellent musical arrangements devised with Roberts.

The trio has come up with an elegant and hugely enjoyable cabaret that is a must, especially if you are a fan of show tunes and popular songs lent new life through novel interpretations.

For my full review of That’s Life at my showbiz site click here

Camelot at Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre

Steven Stead as King Arthur and Jessica Sole as his queen, Guinevere, in the excellent Camelot. Catch the grand KickstArt musical at Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, where it closes on Sunday, June 3. Picture by Val Adamson

Meanwhile, if you haven’t yet seen it, and you enjoy musical theatre that is very well done, do your best to get to Durban this weekend to catch the latest hit from the city’s award-winning KickstArt theatre company.

It’s a sumptuous, slick staging of Camelot, the King Arthur-Guenevere-Lancelot love triangle tale, and the short run ends on Sunday, June 3, at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the Howard College campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Amazing costumes, tuneful songs

It is a truly excellent production of the 1960 Broadway success that became an Oscar-winning 1967 film starring Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave. In fact, I was so captivated by the Durban production that I have seen it twice.

Featuring amazing costumes by Durban couturier Terrence Bray, magical sets by Greg King (who is originally from Pietermaritzburg), stellar performances – most notably by Steven Stead as King Arthur – and tuneful songs, it should not be missed. My full review, by the way, can be seen by clicking here

Book for Camelot at Computicket, where tickets range in price from R185 to R255. Final performances are at 7.30pm on June 1, then 2.30pm and 7.30pm on June 2 and 6pm on June 3.

Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya

The three-level Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga. That ’80s Show is the current showband entertainment there.

If you are considering a Durban trip, perhaps also check out the latest show at the new Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino near Umhlanga. An elegant, Barnyard Theatre-like venue with three levels and seating at tables of eight, it is currently presenting That ’80s Show.

Andrew Webster has devised and directed this third party entertainment at Durban’s grand new supper theatre, which opened last November.
Durban’s popular Barry and Calli Thomson are among a cast that pays tribute to ’80s hits by, among others, Tears For Fears, Def Leppard, Yazoo, Belinda Carlisle, Michael Jackson, Madonna, INXS, UB40, Pat Benatar, Queen, Mango Groove and many others.

I could have done with less narration and corny chit-chat but the show offers a good band with some great song choices. For my full review of the show click here

Rock at the Rockwood Theatre

The Rockwood Theatre sells pizzas, platters and light meals, or patrons can bring in meals bought from the Sibaya Food Court. No food from outside the casino may be brought into the theatre, where all drinks have to be bought at the venue.

Tickets on Thursdays cost R100 each on even numbers. The regular price is R200 a head. Tickets on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays cost R130 each, while on Sundays there is a 50% discount for pensioners and free entry for under-12s. To book, or for more info, phone (031) 161 0000.

Note that hit band The Parlotones is scheduled to perform at the venue on June 7 and 8. To book phone (031) 161 0000.

If it’s cinema you prefer, note that national releases this weekend include Overboard, a film starring Anna Farris, Eugenio Derbez and Eva Longoria. It’s a romantic comedy about a spoiled, wealthy yacht owner who is thrown overboard and becomes the target of revenge from his mistreated employee.

Amy Schumer in a scene from Snatched, the film scheduled to premiere on DStv’s M-Net (channel 101) at 8.30pm on Sunday, June 3. It also stars Goldie Hawn.

Also among films new on the national circuit this weekend is Breaking In, a thriller centred on a woman who fights to protect her family during a home invasion. Directed by James McTeigue, it teams Gabrielle Union and Billy Burke.

Popcorn on the couch more your style? If so, note that the 2017 film, Snatched, is the 8.30pm Sunday movie premiere pick on DStv’s M-Net (channel 101). It teams Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer as a mismatched mother and daughter on a holiday from hell.

DO YOU KNOW?
What 1960s movie did this famous line of dialogue come from: “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”
(Answer in next Friday’s column)…