Shout, shout, let it all out for this concept

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IOL may 22 TO NDR Alive and Kicking1 . Talented cast members Jerryn Fosteras, left, Cali Thomson, centre, and Darren Marais who feature in Alive and Kicking, now on at the Heritage Theatre. Picture: Supplied


DIRECTORS: Cali Thomson and Dawn Selby

CAST: Barry Thomson, Dawn Selby, Cali Thomson, Mali Sewell, Fabien Mitchell, Jerryn Fosteras and Darren Marais.

VENUE: The Heritage Theatre

UNTIL: June 10


WHEN the team behind Alive and Kicking – currently running at the Heritage Theatre – had their light-bulb moment for this show’s concept, their idea was to revive the dance scene in entertainment (think Club Med and Slippers Boogie Palace days).

Judging by one of the shows last week, they may just have struck the right note in getting people excited about that kind of entertainment.

Offering a nostalgic trip into the electronic Eighties – complete with all the trims on stage and in costume – like a lit dance floor, disco ball, neon hair streaks, stonewashed jeans, tiered skirts and more – Alive and Kicking offers a mix of live music, a bit of music history and loads of dancing (on the part of the audience, who seemed keen to embrace the dance concept).

As Barry Thompson (on guitar and also playing compere for the show) put it, the show is all about reviving and recapturing the electronic Eighties. The cast provides the music and the audience is invited to dance the night away (and they did at Thursday night’s show), recreating that live Eighties’ club scene.

There are a number of reasons why this show is such a success. First, they’ve tapped into a very specific era in the music of the Eighties that was, and still is, a hit with music lovers.

Second, carrying off a show like this in the manner they’ve done was brilliant as the generation of that era were not so much a sit-back-and-watch crowd but keen to be on the dance floor.

Third, the cast that has been put together for the show could not be better suited in voice and personality on stage, which makes for a very happy crowd.

And fourth, from the lighting and set design to the costumes on stage and among the audience (patrons are encouraged to dress in theme, too), the atmosphere created makes Alive and Kicking less of a show and more of a nostalgic experience for the audience.

Musical directors Cali Thomson and Dawn Selby (also both on keyboards) have done well with managing this project, which was all played live – no backing tracks.

Guitar maestro Barry Thompson is always a treat to hear. Mali Sewell was a hit on electric drums and Fabien Mitchell aced his six-string bass. Jerryn Fosteras and Darren Marais are faces we will see more of on this scene. Fosteras is a great performer and really gets into character for his sets and his vocal elasticity is amazing. Marais – apparently a first-timer to the public stage – deserves a pat on the shoulder for a job well done. He packs a strong set of pipes but just needs to be more confident in his voice – which should become easier for him to do as he settles down.

* Alive and Kicking runs until June 10. Tickets R195 Wednesday to Saturdays and R165 Tuesday evenings and Sunday lunch time. All prices include a two-course meal. A non-dining, show-only option is also offered at R100. Bookings can be made on 031 765 4197.

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