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Suter’s Showbiz Spotlight

Allan Wilson Shellhole

Sweet soul sounds, magic, Queen and more…

Do yourself a favour and pop along to Pietermaritzburg’s Allan Wilson Shellhole for the 2pm show on Sunday, September 9, by amiable and talented Eshowe-based singer-guitarist Dave Starke, assisted by vocalist Two Bit Mac (pictured above).

The two will be presenting A Tribute to James Taylor and Carole King at the venue, which opens 90 minutes before the performance for a bring-your-own picnic, although light snacks are available for purchase at the venue. Note that all beverages must be bought at the venue’s pub.

Featuring songs such as Carolina on My Mind, Sweet Baby James, Fire and Rain, So Far Away, Natural Woman, You’ve Got a Friend and Will you Still Love Me Tomorrow, the show is a very entertaining look at the lives and music friends King and Taylor.

Starke is a Cape Town-born entertainer, the former frontman of acoustic rock band Soulfire, who is now a full-time solo performer and composer who appeared on the first season of The Voice South Africa. He composes music for film and television.

Brandy Bossa Nova

Too Bit Mac is South African-born singer who was educated in the US. She is currently the vocalist in popular KwaZulu-Natal corporate showband, Brandy Bossa Nova.

Tickets for the Pietermaritzburg show cost R150 (R130 for pensioners) and booking is at Computicket outlets or by phoning Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636. Note that the cost for two adults and two children is R300 (children free).

My full review of A Tribute to James Taylor and Carole King, which has already enjoyed Durban performances, where it recently had a bigger line-up of performers, can be seen by clicking here

Keeping things local, note that Durban singer-guitarist and songwriter Rowan Stuart, of Silver Balloon fame, is the headline attraction at next week’s Music in the Hills (MiTH) event in Hilton – in a barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Drive.

Doors open at 6pm on Wednesday (September 12), the music flows from 7pm, and admission is R30 at the door.

Rowan Stuart performs at the Music in the Hills event in Hilton on Wednesday, September 12. Picture by Carryn Clicks.

Stuart will perform as part of his national Solitary Tour. Having recently released his fifth studio album, and with radio success on major stations countrywide with his latest single, Survivors, he continues to bring his own signature of alternative pop and folk music to a wider audience.

First up at the MiTH event, at 7pm, will be Ilan Lax and Charles Webster, followed an hour later by Jessica Martins (from season one of The Voice South Africa) and Nish Pillay.

New-age drums

Singer-songwriter Martins and Pietermaritzburg percussionist Pillay offer a blend of music from indie-rock to reggae-folk, using piano, guitar and traditional and new-age drums.

Visitors are encouraged to take along their own booze at MiTH’s fortnightly events, although food and soft drinks are available for sale.

Musicians who want to play at MiTH, should contact Charles at 082 331 7271 or Doug at 072 340 7034.

Meanwhile, the big event in Durban this week has to be the Queen tribute show at the three-level Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga.

Some 20 years after he last performed to the public in Durban, former Napac dancer, actor and singer Joseph Clark returns for four performances of his acclaimed Queen tribute show, which is headed for the Netherlands soon.

Joseph Clark in The Music of Queen, at the Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino from September 6 to 9.

The two-hour The Music of Queen will have Clark performing alongside Axe Lourens on lead guitar and vocals, Richard Brokensha on guitar and vocals, Kyle Petersen on keyboards, piano and vocals, Trevor Donjeany on bass and Marlon Witbooi on drums.

More KZN Midlands events and shows

Performances are from September 6 to 9, at 8pm Thursday to Saturday and at 2pm on the Sunday, with tickets priced at R180 each. To book phone 031 161 0000 or mail

The Music of Queen arrives in Durban after having played to more than 30 000 Queen fans in The Gelredome Stadium in The Netherlands in 2011, after which Clark and his band enjoyed European theatre runs and outdoor concert performances until November 2017.

Considered one of the most popular of Queen tribute artists, Clark is not an impersonator of Freddie Mercury.

Compliment to genius

“I’m not a believer in impersonating great artists. To pay tribute to their music, to keep it alive and new and fresh, is the greatest compliment to their genius,” says this star of Geoffrey Sutherland’s ahead-of-its-time Queen at the Opera, staged to great success at Durban’s Playhouse in the 1990s.

He continues; “I’m thrilled to have been able to perform back-to-back in Europe, Cape Town, Pretoria, Namibia and now Durban, before returning to The Netherlands in November.”

Apart from classics such as We Will Rock You, Another One Bites The Dust, We Are The Champions, I Want To Break Free, Innuendo, Killer Queen, Fat Bottomed Girls, Bicycle Race and Bohemian Rhapsody, the show also features lesser-known Queen hits such as You Take My Breath Away, Is This The World We Created, Too Much Love Will Kill You, Mother Love and In My Defence.

Also a big draw in Durban this weekend is Shall We Dance at the Playhouse Opera Theatre.

This year marks the 26th for the annual Durban dance extravaganza which, again produced and directed by Neville Letard and Caryl Cusens, will feature more than 100 performers when it is staged from September 7 to 16.

The event showcases various dance companies and dance styles including Ballroom, Latin American, belly-dancing, Bollywood, ballet and just about everything else in between.

The featured couples this year include Danish dancer Nikolaj Lund and Polish dancer Marta Kocik performing Ballroom and Latin. They have dance titles from Denmark, throughout Europe and Japan, and will be making their first appearance at Shall We Dance and in South Africa.

Raqs Arabia SADTA Belly Dancers performing in Shall We Dance at Durban’s Playhouse. Picture by Val Adamson.

Back again this year is Durban dance duo Statik, which will perform high-energy, tightly choreographed routines. The team comprises Selwyn Rautenbach and Clinton Green, who have been dancing together since 1995. Their routine fits somewhere between Michael Jackson and hip-hop and breaks conventional dance style boundaries.

More KZN Midlands news

Fan favourite Gerhard van Rooyen is also back this year, and will be joined by Moldavian athlete, Ecaterina Jeleznii, performing in their jaw-dropping adage style.

Making their first appearance as featured dancers are Siphosethu Ngcobo from Umlazi and Sibusiso Ndlovu from Ladysmith. These young talents will perform with Madison Bromfield. Ngcobo and Bromfield will be taking to the floor for the Ballroom sequence, while Ndlovu and Bromfield will be performing the Latin American.

Damon Beard once again will compere the extravaganza, for which booking is now open at Computicket outlets.

The Reals

Meanwhile, if the music of the 1960s grabs you, note that you have last chances this week to catch popular showband The Reals with their Woodstock showband entertainment at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel, 14 Beryldene Road, Kloof.

Performances are at 8pm nightly until Saturday, September 8, and the final performance is at 2pm on Sunday, September 9. Tickets cost R150 (R130 for pensioners) at Computicket.

Featuring guest singer Marion Loudon, the band – Barry Thomson, Jason Andrew, Dawn Selby and Mali Sewell – present a fine tribute to the hits of yesteryear, associated with the historic music festival held over three days in the 1960s. My full review of the show by clicking here

Also worth noting is that Port Elizabeth-based mentalist and magician Brendon Peel – ahead of his Hilton Arts Festival performances – will entertain with his show, Hocus Pocus, at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel, Kloof, at 8pm on Wednesday and Thursday, September 12 and 13.

Mentalist and magician Brendon Peel, of Port Elizabeth, performs at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof on September 12 and 13. He then performs at next week’s Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College.

Peel has performed across South Africa and internationally. Hocus Pocus is a show filled with mind-reading routines as well as more traditional magic tricks as Peel guides the audience through a variety of illusions and feats blended with a fun-loving, humorous approach.

Hilton Arts Fest bookings

The venue offers seating at tables of six. Tickets cost R150 (R130 for pensioners) and booking is at Computicket or by phoning Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636. Note that the cost for two adults and two children is R300 (children free).

Among new releases due in cinemas countrywide this weekend is Ellen, starring Jarrid Geduld, Jill Levenberg, Elton Landrew and Clint Brink.

Directed by Daryne Joshua, and based on a true events, it tells of the troubled relationship between a mother and her drug-addicted son – a relationship that will eventually drive her to the edge and lead to his murder.

Goldie Hawn received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her debut movie role in 1970’s Cactus Flower, but was only nominated once more for an Oscar, in 1981, in the Best Actress category. For what film? (Answer next week).

Last week’s question was: What hit song by Adele, originally recorded by Billy Joel, was written by Bob Dylan and recorded by him later? The song has also been recorded by Kelly Clarkson, Garth Brooks and Bryan Ferry. (Answer: To Make You Feel My Love.)


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