Keeping the customers satisfied

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Durban’s The Gee Jays. From left are Grant Bell, Gary McKenzie and John Didlick. Their new show is in Durban from March 3.

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STAGE: And That’s When the Trouble Started… – The Gee Jays

RHUMBELOW THEATRE, UMBILO, DURBAN

REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER

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THIRTY-TWO years on and Durban’s hard-working, unpretentious, good-natured and ubiquitous vocal cabaret trio, The Gee Jays, continue to do what they enjoy and what keeps their customers satisfied.

John Didlick, Gary McKenzie and Grant Bell have seldom, if ever, swayed from their rigid formula in the past three decades or so. But they know their audiences well and give them what they want – heaps of corn, lashings of cheese, jokes by turns lame and clever, and, best of all, a good mix of song, mostly from the American Songbook and hit-parades past.

The latest show, like the trio’s previous supper theatre offerings, highlights a very loose narrative hanger for more of the same, the theme being hints and tips from the seasoned singers about the differences between men and women, and how to avoid flare-ups between them.

It’s a colourful mish-mash of a show that covers a variety of tunes extending from ballads and pop to a groovy Beach Boys medley and a pretty good, hard-rock sequence which salutes everyone from The Rolling Stones to Golden Earring, complete with costumes.

Also hurled into the mix are a catchy Afrikaans ditty, a lyrical reworking of My Old Man’s a Dustman, nods to Dr Hook, Paul Simon and Johnny Nash, and even a tribute to One Direction (a good rendition of History).

We also get comedy novelties, jokes aplenty and a sequence of reggae songs where Didlick gets goofy on “a joint” – although, mercifully, there’s less than usual of Didlick’s trademark “dof” character in routines that constantly see him using wrong words to describe and discuss things. Previous Gee Jays shows tend to over-milk this shtick, but the balance is just right here.

Heck, even a blow-up doll makes a few appearances in And That’s When the Trouble Started…, where you will also enjoy a bit of Michael Buble, some Dire Straits, a Travelling Wilburys segment, McKenzie on good form with a Procol Harum classic, and a really cool three-part delivery of Lobo’s classic 70s ballad, I’d Love You To Want Me.

The show, which opens with a good-harmony rendition of The Beatles classic, I Feel Fine, closes with I Hear You Knocking.

Having opened last weekend at the Rhumbelow Theatre’s Pietermaritzburg branch, where an enthusiastic audience gave it a thumbs-up, the production now moves to the Umbilo branch, in Cunningham Avenue, off Bartle Road.

Performances there are from Friday to Sunday this and next week, March 3 to 5 and March 10 to 12. Performances are at 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2pm and 6.30pm on Sundays.

Tickets cost R150 each. Call Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636 to book or for more information.


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