Fun show filled with good cheer

The Reals with guest drummer Andy Turrell in the fun, low-fuss Christmas Fun. Also pictured, front from left, are bassist Jason Andrew, singer-guitarist Barry Thomson and keyboardist and musical director Dawn Selby. Final performances are at 2pm and 6.30pm today (December 24).

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STAGE: The Reals: Christmas Fun – Rhumbelow Theatre, Cunningham Road, Umbilo, Durban
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
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MARKING the last show of the year at Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo, before the Cunningham Road venue closes for a month for refurbishment and reopens early in February with performances by The Blarney Brothers, Christmas Fun differs from previous festive season shows by Durban band The Reals.

For starters, it does not feature guest vocalist Marion Loudon, who is performing in KickstArt’s Sinbad the Sailor pantomime, and it also  does not showcase drummer Mali Sewell, who is on leave and replaced for this show by the more-than-capable, versatile Andy Turrell.

The showband entertainment  differs, too, from previous Christmas shows by The Reals in that it offers more rock and pop, and only a sprinkling of carols and novelty Christmas songs. The emphasis is on highlights from shows the band has performed in the past year and before that. Consequently, we get a bulging mixed bag of  material, the show taking on an informal, low-fuss concept. It’s great fun!

Christmas Fun opens with the group performing Pink Floyd’s Time which I would have moved to later in the programme to instead open with something more upbeat, more colourfully commercial. However, that is a small quibble as The Reals do cater for every taste in this show.

Anchored by singer-guitarist Barry Thomson, the team features musical director Dawn Selby on keyboards and vocals, and Jason Andrew on bass and vocals.

The first half opens with three songs from Barry’s early solo show, A Taste of Thomson –  the Pink Floyd number, Stevie Ray Vaughn’s rollicking House is Rocking and the Gary Moore classic, Still Got the Blues, performed to perfection here. We then get Dawn on lead vocals for Fleetwood Mac’s Say That You Love Me before the Rodriguez numbers Silver Words (Jason on lead vocals) and Sugar Man (Barry on vocals).

Dawn then pops on a Santa hat (with pigtails attached) for a jovial Jingle Bell Rock, leading to the band presenting a good rendition of the John Lennon hit, Merry Xmas (War is Over). The first half closes after some songs from the Reals’ Woodstock show,  the novelty items Always Look on the Bright Side of Life and Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer and a selection of hits by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Part two of the show gets off to a bang with three Eagles hits – The Long Run, Desperado and Take it Easy – followed by Chris de Burgh’s A Spaceman Came Travelling. We are then into two Neil Diamond classics, followed by more merry Christmas songs and a brilliant finale of superbly executed hits associated with Dire Straits – Money for Nothing and Sultans of Swing.

Christmas Fun has final performances at 2pm and 6.30pm today (Sunday, December 24). It’s a perfect Yuletide treat, so pop along. Tickets cost R150 each, seating is at tables of eight, and beverages must be bought at the theatre although you can take along your own eats.

Call Roland at 082 499 8636 to book or for more information… and also ask him about The Real’s New Year Fun show, at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel, Kloof, from December 29 to 31.


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