Stage: Super Bands – Rockwood Theatre, Sibaya Casino near Umhlanga
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
FOR his latest show, hard-working producer-director and Durban Rockwood Theatre owner, Andrew Webster, has put together a well-paced and colourful party showband entertainment that quickly puts one in feel-good mode.
It is likely to prove very popular, certainly if the favourable audience response last night is anything to go by, but there is sure to be some mumbling about song choices, with the production marketed as a nod to “the greatest bands of all time”.
Yes, many of the obvious biggies are featured in Super Bands, but there have been titters of disappointment that some hugely successful bands – Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Police, Chicago, The Doobie Brothers and Supertramp, for starters – have been ignored.
I agree, but also readily acknowledge that one simply cannot please everyone all the time, and that there is only so much that can be squeezed into one show. Also, there is always the chance of a Super Bands 2… and I say yes, please, to that.
I have more disappointment with the inclusion of Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls (both of them vocal groups rather than bands), as well as one-hit wonder Europe. Were it up to me, I would have cut them all and instead run with a medley or two of snippets of songs associated with greater bands that are conspicuous by their absence.
All considered, though, the mix of acts featured in Super Bands remains a fine jukebox of rock and pop. It covers hits associated with The Beatles, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, U2, Dire Straits, Bon Jovi, Bee Gees, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Foreigner, Coldplay, Journey, The Jackson Five, Juluka, Toto and the ubiquitous Abba. A fair mix.
A strong plus is that the band of musicians assembled to tip hats at some of the world’s biggest chart-toppers is a very good one indeed.
It is of most note for ace Durban blues guitarist Rusty Red showing his versatility on both guitar and vocals in what marks his first show at this venue. He does an excellent job of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall, Beautiful Day by U2, Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing and Coldplay’s Adventure of a Lifetime.
Rusty is equally matched on guitar by long-haired, Johannesburg-based Louis Cronje, who also goes by the name Louis Lixx. He is the partner of the show’s standout vocalist, gutsy belter Amy le Roux, who is a constant crowd-pleaser, but at her best with Led Zeppelin numbers and a powerhouse delivery of the ballad rendition of The Beatles classic, Help.
Also on vocals is promising, bubbly Durban 17-year-old Savannah de Beer, a tiny blonde who made her Rockwood Theatre debut in the recent Hollywood Hits, and SA Idols Top 10 finalist Sandile Mkhize, who may not have quite as much stage confidence as others in the cast, but who has a sweet voice and impresses with The Beatles’ In My Life and Toto’s Africa.
The show also features tall Durban bassist Lloyd de Gier, the ever-impressive Evan Cullum on keyboards and drummer Dillan Kanny.
Vocalist Ruan Geldenhuys, who has developed into a confident and charismatic performer, is the host of this show. He delivers a good variety of songs, highlights including The Beatles Twist and Shout, high-pitched Bee Gees hit Tragedy, Foreigner’s I Want to Know What Love Is (in duet with young Savannah), and, in drag, a camp rendition of Queen’s I Want to Break Free.
I have to say, though, that Ruan’s get-up for a well-sung version of The Stones’ Satisfaction has him looking more like a stage character of Durban funnyman Aaron McIlroy than Mick Jagger.
Super Bands runs at this three-tiered theatre until June 2. Tickets cost R99 each on Thursday evenings, and R130 each for shows from Fridays to Sundays. On Sundays, children under 12 get in free and pensioners pay R65. Phone 031 010 6444 to book or for more information.
Note that only food bought at the theatre, or at Sibaya Casino outlets, can be brought into the venue, which has a floor that is wheelchair friendly and has a wide range of offerings for group bookings, conferences, fundraisers and private functions.
The casual dining experience is perfectly complimented with a fully stocked bar. For menu options and seating plan visit the website http://www.rockwoodtheatre.co.za/durban.