……BY BILLY SUTER……
AFTER many years of providing regular shows in the cosy conference centre at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof, the Rhumbelow Theatre has now shut doors for good there. This follows recent new ownership of the venue and new development plans.
Roland Stansell, manager and entertainment co-ordinator of the Rhumbelow Theatre franchise, said he was very sad to end the association with the venue in Beryldene Road but the Rhumbelow franchise did not fit into the hotel’s new development plans.
He said he was open to considering a new theatre in the area, but such a venue would also have to be able to store equipment needed for shows: “The expense and schlep of having to cart such things to and from Durban for every show is just not a viable option”.
Tina’s Hotel, built in 1941 as a private hotel called the Beryldene Hotel, is now under new ownership and still operating while renovations are underway. Other than including new flooring, a children’s play area, kitchen improvements and painting inside and out, the venue’s plans will also “look at housing as well, later down the road,” according to the venue’s Facebook page.
Rhumbelow Theatre franchises are still in operation at the Northlands Bowling Club in Durban North and the Allan Wilson Shellhole in Pietermaritzburg, with the original theatre at the Rhumbelow Shellhole, in Umbilo’s Cunningham Road, continuing as the flagship franchise. So all the shows Kloof residents love are only a drive away…
Looking forward, Stansell is now calling on Facebook for artists to contact him with a view to featuring in a series of mini-festival weekends at the Umbilo Rhumbelow, designed to tap and promote new talent. He is planning a pianist-singer festival weekend, a guitarist-singer weekend and a weekend of comedians. Watch this space.
Roland has two new productions by popular Durban tribute band The Reals, scheduled soon – Rock Guitar Legends II and an exciting new tribute show about which he prefers not to reveal any details just yet.
Featuring Barry Thomson, Andy Turrell, Mali Sewell and Dawn Selby, Rock Guitar Legends II will have its first performance at Northlands Bowling Club, 50 Margaret Mayton Avenue, at 7pm this Saturday, February 19. It will then be staged at the Umbilo venue at 7pm on February 25 and 26, and 2pm on February 27.
Rock Guitar Legends II pays tribute to some of the greatest guitarists of all time with the focus mainly on classic rock of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The show features a variety of guitar styles – ranging from Hank Marvin to Jimi Hendrix. Also highlighted are the distinctive playing styles and sounds of Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page and Slash.
Tickets cost R180 each. Book at Computicket or call Roland at 082 488 8636.
Meanwhile, a reminder that the Umbilo Rhumbelow Theatre is becoming increasingly popular for the many quality films Stansell screens there on a giant screen and with a new, high-quality sound system.
Several filmed-live stage productions – including Kinky Boots, Funny Girl, An American in Paris and The King and I – have been shown and recent live-participation evenings with the ’70s cult hit, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, have been great crowd-pleasers. Stansell is looking at offering more golden-oldie cinema with a live-participation element.
This weekend the London concert version of the acclaimed musical, Les Miserables, will be screened at the Umbilo venue, at 7pm on Friday and Saturday and 2pm on Sunday. Tickets cost R120 each.
Coinciding with the musical’s 35th triumphant year in London’s West End, Cameron Mackintosh produced this spectacular, sold-out staged concert version at the Gielgud Theatre, featuring an orchestra and cast of 65 people, including Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Matt Lucas and John Owen Jones.
Also note that the must-see, recently filmed London stage version of Anything Goes is scheduled for three screenings at the Umbilo Rhumbelow Theatre in Cunningham Road – at 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday, March 27; and 6.30pm on Wednesday, March 30. Tickets cost R100 each and booking is essential
The musical features classic songs by Cole Porter. It was shot live on stage last October, soon after it opened to rave reviews at London’s Barbican, where it returns for a seven-week season from July.
Heading the 50-strong cast in the filmed production is Broadway royalty Sutton Foster (TV’s Younger), who reprises her Tony Award-winning performance as Reno Sweeney, alongside three-time Olivier Award-winner and Tony Award-winner Robert Lindsay (My Family).
The musical, which runs for 156 minutes (including an interval) and received five-star ratings from London’s Guardian, Observer and Telegraph newspapers, also stars Felicity Kendall (TV’s The Good Life) and West End legend Gary Wilmot (Chicago).