Charmers with song and silliness

From left are Rowan Bartlett (the title character in KickstArt’s Winnie the Pooh) with fellow local theatre stalwarts Bryan Hiles and Darren King, in a scene from Get Knotted. Both Hiles and King are to play dames in this year’s KickstArt panto, Cinderella, scheduled for Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre over the festive season. Pictures by courtesy of Barry Meehan.

Stage: Get Knotted – Rhumbelow Theatre, Cunningham Avenue, Umbilo, Durban

THE third music revue that the versatile Durban trio of Bryan Hiles, Darren King and Rowan Bartlett have put together with a loose Las Vegas theme – following Tie a Knot In It and Tie Another Knot In It, both originally devised for the Hilton Arts Festival – Get Knotted, which premiered at last weekend’s Hilton festival, is a large bowl of good cheer.

It is a show as light as a souffle, a delicious scramble of random Vegas trivia and varied song served with many a nudge and wink, a lot of amusement and charm, and some unexpected poignancy and sincerity at times.

Embracing everything from Presley to Parton, Sia to Streisand, the Rat Pack and Robbie Williams to Manhattan Transfer, the production takes place on a stage dressed with a clothing rail, small tables with booze and an orange mannequin, with glittery nipplecaps, introduced as showgirl Lola.

Lola becomes a hanger for everything from hats and feather boas to a massive confection of a wig as the guys come and go, performing solo and in varying combinations, to present a madcap mix of mirth and music.

Songs by Simon and Garfunkel, Tears For Fears, Neil Diamond, Leonard Cohen Take That and Boystown Gang also get a look-in during the two halves of the show which includes nice surprises in lesser-known movie songs. One is the beguiling, Clint Eastwood co-penned title song from his Gran Torino movie, performed beautifully by Hiles; and the other is Damien Rice’s plaintive and haunting The Blower’s Daughter from the movie Closer, performed by all three cast members.

Opening with the trio performing King of the Road , L.O.V.E and The Lady is a Tramp, the show’s first-half highlights include Darren and Rowan’s amusing Islands in the Stream; Bryan and Darren knocking Rowan for battling to master choreography in Sway; the trio donning fedoras for That Old Black Magic; and the crowd-rousing rendition of Elvis’s rousing American Trilogy that ends the first half.

A scene from Get Knotted.

The second half opens with Ain’t That a Kick in the Head and the trio in boy band mode, complete with baseball caps, for Take That’s cover of the Barry Manilow-penned Could It Be Magic, which was a massive disco hit for Donna Summer.

We then get Rowan performing Sia’s Chandelier – a good job considering he battled with a cough on opening night. Also of note is the team, with tongue firmly in cheek, offering fun and games in the Post Modern Jukebox version of Tears For Fears’ Mad World. Loved the aeroplane, Bryan!

I also enjoyed the fun delivery of Jack Jones’s Wives and Lovers, the lively interpretation of Robbie Williams’s catchy Party Like a Russian, the risqué Blow Me a Kiss and the close-harmony treats of Scarborough Fair and Hallelujah. Over the Rainbow and New York, New York are among other crowd favourites.

The show has final performances at the Umbilo Rhumbelow Theatre at 8pm today (September 22) and 2pm tomorrow (September 23), then has repeat performances at the same venue at 8pm next Friday and Saturday (September  28 and 29) and 2pm on Sunday, September 30.

Get Knotted is lit by Sarah Claxton, has sound control in the hands of Andre Norden and has follow-spot by Mavourneen Donaldson.

Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with valid student cards). A Family Pack discount during the first week of shows is also available – R300 total for two adults and two children.

One may take along one’s own meals or snacks to the venue, but no beverages as a pub is on the premises. Light meals and snacks may also be bought at the venue. Booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.

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