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Dancing in the Streets
DIRECTOR: Duck Chowles
MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Chris van der Westhuizen
CAST: Clinton Philander, |Richard Hala, Gavin Esterhuizen, Ruth Brown, Cheri de Bruyn, |Jo-Anne Piers, Devlon Horne, Chris van der Westhuisen, |Kelly Joubert, Colin Heaney, Kirsty Madgin
VENUE: The Barnyard Theatre, Gateway
UNTIL: March 11
Journey through some of the world’s most popular street festivals/carnivals with Dancing in the Streets, the Barnyard Theatre’s first show this year.
The Gateway venue opened the show last week, giving audiences a hyped-up and highly entertaining musical offering moulded from carnivals and street celebrations across the world.
Starting at the New Orleans Mardi Gras, the show works it way across the globe through song, visiting events ranging from the Cape Minstrel Festival to the Rio Carnival, the Jamaica Sun Splash Festival and the Sydney Mardi Gras Pink Festival.
Popular entertainer Clinton Philander is the host, and chops and changes characters at the drop of a hat. From ’n bra vannie Kaap (for the Cape Minstrel set) to a Mexican (for the Rio Carnival), Irish host (for St Patrick’s Day) and even a ghoul (for Halloween), Philander makes for an excellent choice of host/narrator.
He keeps the audience in stitches with his mischievous antics and is highly entertaining as the different hosts, really getting into character with appropriate accents and, of course, his singing is excellent. I particularly enjoyed his Gypsy Kings songs during the Rio Carnival set.
Richard Hala and Gavin Esterhuizen also do an excellent job as the other two male vocalists. Hala has a unique sound and owns every song he performs. His vocal range is remarkable.
From Redemption Song to Danny Boy to Thriller and more, Hala proves his vocal elasticity.
Esterhuizen is also uniquely talented. I most enjoyed his Elvis performances during the New Orleans/Dixie Rock set and he proves to be very entertaining, as seen in his daring performance for the Science Fiction Double Feature/Sweet Transvestite set.
Female vocalists Ruth Brown, Cheri De Bruyn and Jo-Anne Piers deserve kudos for holding their note throughout a hyped show, dominated by pacey dance moves.
Choreographers Samantha Etberg and Denya Maslen do a superb job of putting together dance sets that suit each country’s festival. From salsa-laced moves to hints of Riverdance and more, the duo deserve a pat on the back for this one.
Throughout the show, Devlon Horne’s fantastic guitar skills can be heard, but it is when the show stops off at the Michigan Guitar Festival that we get to see this strings star shine. Excellent performance! From Spanish guitar to full-on electric rock, Horne is amazing.
The sad bit, though, is that either sound gremlins or poor sound management (still can’t quite put my finger on it) led to his playing being drowned out – particularly earlier on in Friday’s show for some of the Spanish guitar sets.
Saxophonist Kirsty Madgin has a great set of lungs on her and deserves a mention for her stellar performance through the show.
An added treat was to hear her play the Irish tin whistle during the St Patrick’s Day set – a bright move on the part of musical director Chris van der Westhuizen, as it added a great feel to this set.
On the whole, this is a fun show that is well worth the watch. From Louis Armstrong to Elvis Presley, Gloria Estefan to Ricky Martin, Carlos Santana to Bob Marley and more, the show has something for everyone.
• Tickets are R135 per person from Wednesday to Saturday, with discounted specials of R100 per person every Tuesday night and Sunday matinee show. For bookings and enquiries phone The Barnyard Theatre on 031 566 3045 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org