Glossy package of hits and novelties

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Stage: Christmas Crackers – Rhumbelow Theatre, Cunningham Road, Umbilo, Durban
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
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MORE so than in previous festive season productions by versatile Durban showband The Reals, Christmas Crackers places heavier emphasis on rock and pop than carols and novelty hits, being more of a “greatest hits” of the past year for the group.

Also, two of the band members – drummer Mali Sewell and bassist Jason Andrews – are on holiday and absent, temporarily replaced for this show by the versatile Andy Turrell on bass and Rhumbelow newcomer Adrian Wilson on percussion.

Also in the show alongside Reals regulars Barry Thomson, on guitar and vocals, and Dawn Selby, on musical direction, vocals and keyboards, is ebullient and versatile vocalist Marion Loudon, a Reals Christmas show regular, in a parade of glittery, festive outfits.

The result is a cheerful, informal show with a jolly mix of silly season nuggets and classic hits. It is a bumper, glossy package of festive cheer that is just perfect for enthusiastically giving 2018 the boot and laying out the welcome mat for Christmas and the new year.

On a stage flanked by a twinkling, white Christmas tree and where walls feature decorations and microphone stands glisten with strands of tinsel, the performers offer a programme that covers highlights from Reals shows that include their tributes to Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits, inevitable Woodstock chestnuts, British acts and, going even further back in the Reals show roster, songs associated with Eagles and Mammas and the Pappas.

The result is something for everyone – including such novelties as Monty Python’s whistle-along Always Look On the Bright Side of Life, the catchy and amusing Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer and such singalongs as Santa Claus is Coming to Town, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Santa Baby and the John Lennon classic, Happy Xmas (War is Over), which opens the show.

Among highlights are Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop and Go Your Own Way, a rollicking interpretation of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s The House Is Rockin’, a lively cover of The Monkees classic I’m a Believer, Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart and Joe Cocker’s With a Little Help From My Friends. On opening night, we also got a surprise treat in deliveries of the Eagles’ Hotel California and Desperado by 14 year-old singer, Fazlyn Naidoo, who studies voice with Loudon. Other youngsters from her team are lined up for future performances.

Marion Loudon.

The show also features, among others, crowd-pleasers such as Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy, The Eagles’ Take it Easy, Queen’s Tie Your Mother Down, Mammas and Pappas’ Dream a Little Dream Of Me, Chuck Berry’s Johnny B Good, Dire Straits’Money For Nothing and the Led Zeppelin schreecher, Rock and Roll.

Christmas Crackers has a 2pm performance today (Monday, December 17) and next Monday (December 24). It will also be performed at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (December 21 and 22) and 2pm on Sunday (December 23).

Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with a valid student card). Booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636.

 


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