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THE BATS ARE BACK! (article first published : 2003-07-22)

Vintage rockers – The Bats – reunite to remind audiences of their very special blend of comedy, anecdotes and fabulous music when they come to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre for a short season starting on July 22.

Back after a 20 year sab"BAT"ical, these guys can still rock with the best of them! Their unique blend of musical skill, fabulous stories, great comedy and relaxed confidence still make them a winner with their audiences after all these years. Accomplished comedian Eddie Eckstein (remember Biltong and Potroast and Telefun Quiz?), TV personality Paul Ditchfield and blues guitarist Pete Clifford are the original BATS who along with newcomer Derek Gordon bring a host of musical talents to the stage.

They revisit the swinging 70’s, playing a range of classics from Elvis to the Shadows and ballads to rock. For nostalgia’s sake, there are also one or two of their original hits (like Shabby Little Hut) and some fun comic numbers like Living Next Door to Hansie, Sounds of Sirens and Trigger Happy. The reunited musicians, who are all over 50 now, have been playing to packed houses in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Knysna, and Port Elizabeth and reviews have been extremely complimentary.

"They may refer to themselves as "ou toppies" - old men - throughout the show but what they do with musical instruments and their voices can teach some young artists a thing or six,” said Rafiek Mammon, Cape Times, February 6, 2003. “The Bats are back in style, proving their worth as one of South Africa's best homegrown talents, 30 years on. They have certainly matured like a good red wine.

“Pete Clifford and Derek Gordon are aces with guitars in their hands. Their agility is far superior to some younger folk I have witnessed on stage, giving true meaning to the adage that there is no substitute for experience. Paul Ditchfield, whom we know as a television personality, is an amazing keyboard player and songwriter. One of his compositions dubbed Three to Tangle is a brilliant piece of work. Then there is Eddie Eckstein, who must surely be one of the funniest characters alive. The show is not really about the normal memory lane trip. In fact, their entire show is as off centre as they are. They are unapologetically themselves."

Their show is billed as "the perfect tonic for your average stressed-out South African audience". Book at Computicket on 011 340 8000 or 083 915 8000.




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