Stage: Nineties vs Noughties – Barnyard Theatre, Suncoast Casino, Durban
(Until December 30)
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
AFTER the huge success of the Barnyard Theatre’s last show, Thank You For the Music, a nod to Queen, Abba and the Bee Gees that enjoyed an extended run, what a pleasure to see a packed and enthusiastic audience at a recent Sunday matinee performance of the latest showband entertainment at this venue.
At the performance I reviewed, audience members, many dancing at tables at times, had an absolute ball. In fact, it was one of the most joyous crowds I have seen at this venue… and I have seen every showband production here.
Barnyard Theatre management couldn’t be happier as it bodes well for the festive season – the show runs until December 30 – and bookings are already brisk, notably from companies booking end-of-year functions. A wonderful sign, indeed, that theatre is finally returning to the ‘good old days’ following the horrors of Covid-19. Long may it prosper!
Good news is that SoSuterBillhas a great competition today – 10 free tickets to see this show at a performance of your choice, subject to availability. See the end of this post for competition entry details.
Nineties vs Noughties is certainly perfectly packaged for let-down-your-hair good vibes and is ideal for booting out another really tough year. It may confine song choices to hits of the 1990s and early 2000s, but a wide range of genres and artists is covered. There is something for everyone, and all is performed with gusto by a talented team under the strong musical direction of seasoned Calli Thomson.
The current cast is one that is becoming more and more regular, and the chemistry and tightness of the team is most commendable, with the core band comprising Calli Thomson on keyboards, fine lead guitarist Jason Kylen, Dylan van der Linde on drums and Bongani Sokhele on the bass.
Vocalists are local favourites Kyle Matthews, petite blonde Savanah de Beer, power-voiced Kerry Cherry (looking great, by the way), KickstArt regular Rory Booth (remember him as Donkey in Shrek the Musical?) and, my favourite of this show, amiable and versatile Themba January, who is also becoming a Barnyard regular.
The show cuts straight to the fun on a beautifully lit stage and the cast, in a passing parade of costumes, limits chit-chat to belt out hit after hit, with little pause in between. They get off to a banging start with an infectious medley of pounding favourites including Black-Eyed Peas’ I Got a Feeling, 2Unlimited’s No Limits and Dr Alban’s It’s My Life.
As usual, the team performs in varying combinations thereafter, with guitarist Jason occasionally taking centrestage for guitar solos, most notably the pumping, feverishly paced Pulp Fiction theme tune and Santana’s Smooth, sung by Rory.
The hits are plentiful in a show which covers dance-doof-doof, pop, reggae, rock and pop, as well as a country section that opens the second half with tributes to Shania Twain and Billy Ray Cyrus (yes, of course, Achy Breaky Heart). We also have a very popular section saluting local chart-toppers including NdiHamba Nawe and Nkalakatha.
Highlights are many and include Kerry and Themba delighting with Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie; Rory and Themba pouring out the energy for Mandoza’s Nkalakatha; the women meshing power ballads associated with Celine Dion and Mariah Carey (not “Maria” as the stage back projections erroneously advertise); and the three male vocalists pooled for the rousing All For One, a hit for Bryan Adams, Sting and Rod Stewart.
We also get such crowd-pleasers as Beautiful, Baby One More Time and Rehab (all solos by Savanah), Rory’s delivery of Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, Kyle’s great renditions of King of Leon’s Sex on Fire and Coldplay’s Viva la Vida; and Kerry wowing with Raise Your Glass, Without You and most impressing with Beyonce’s Crazy in Love.
Probably the loudest applause of the show is reserved for Themba’s operatic turn with Andrea Bocelli’s Con te Partirò (Time to Say Goodbye). Themba earns bonus points for his winning smile and great job as show presenter.
Also featured in this production are songs by, among others, Lady Gaga, Enrique Iglesias, Chumbawama, Smash Mouth, Jennifer Lopez, Robbie Williams, Westlife, Def Leppard and Inner Circle (Sweat…a-lo-lo-lo-lo-long. Heck, we even get a delivery of Aqua’s Barbie Girl – in drag!
Special mention must be made of the show’s choreography which is plentiful, fun and deftly executed. There’s even a dance-off section. And the usual calls for audience participation, of course.
Nineties vs Noughties runs until December 30 and is a great choice for festive fun for the whole family. Ticket prices, depending on days of performance, range from R150 to R220. To book, or for more details, call the theatre at (031) 940 0500.
WIN SHOW TICKETS… WIN SHOW TICKETS… WIN SHOW TICKETS
Care to put yourself in line to be the winner of 10 TICKETS to see “Nineties vs Noughties”, attending any performance of this show, subject to availability?
You simply have to be a follower of the SoSuterBill site to win. At no cost.
If you are not already a follower, simply leave your email address in the space provided towards the end of the cover page of this site, sosuterbill.com (access the cover page by clicking ‘Latest Posts’ on the menu bar).
You will then be a follower, and receive email notification whenever I file a new story.
Once you have subscribed (there is no cost), send your NAME and PHONE NUMBER via email (NOT THIS SITE’S CONTACT FORM) to firstname.lastname@example.org and place the words ‘BARNYARD GIVEAWAY’ in the subject field.
Note that the competition closes at 6pm on Thursday, November 10, and the lucky winner of the 10 tickets will be contacted soon after. His/her name will be posted in this spot thereafter. The lucky winner was Debbie Groupe.
Also note that tickets may not be exchanged for another performance and that the prize is for tickets only (not travel and/or accommodation should this prove necessary).
NOTE: PLEASE READ ENTRY DETAILS CAREFULLY AS SOME PEOPLE ARE ENTERING COMPETITIONS INCORRECTLY.
ALSO NOTE THAT ONLY ONE ENTRY PER SUBSCRIBER WILL BE CONSIDERED.