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HOT CHOCOLATE (article first published : 2006-08-20)

The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway will help Durbanites emerge from the grips of winter with Hot Chocolate, describing it as “dark, decadent and delicious” entertainment.

Audiences will be transported by a vibrant show that is both soulful and playful as it delves into a variety of musical styles. Starting in the 1940s with pioneers such as Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Junior and Ella Fitzgerald, it then shifts into rock ‘n roll and soul in the 50s with the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Platters and James Brown. At the same time South Africa had a musical revolution in its own backyard with The Manhattans and Miriam Makeba, while the pennywhistle was being played on every street corner.

Things heated up in the 60s era with legends such as Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge and The Supremes. The 70s saw the emergence of Motown, reggae and disco typified by Stevie Wonder, Dianna Ross, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and The Jackson Five. The 80s produced icons such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Prince, while the 90s and beyond have been responsible for greats such as Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton and Seal. And, at home we have our South African icons like Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Sipho Hotstix and Brenda Fassie.

The highly talented 11-member cast of Hot Chocolate will be lead by Barnyard diva Ramaine Barriero (Glory Days and Born To Run) on female vocals, along with Celeste Schoeman and Lungisa Dikana, and Joel Zuma (Those Were The Days and Rock Around The Clock) and Ernie St Claire (of Afro Z) on male vocals. The band will be made up of performers who have all appeared in previous shows at the Gateway venue, with Alan Lloyd on drums, Durbanite Bongani Sokhele on bass guitar, Vusumzi Maseko on keyboards, Joe van der Linden on guitar, locally-based Colin Mairs on saxophone and Blackie Tempi completing the line-up on trumpet.

Ramaine Barreiro is expected to again wow Durban audiences with her phenomenal showmanship and her sassy mini-skirted version of Tina Turner’s Proud Mary is sure to be a highlight of the show.

Audiences can expect everything from soul and blues, to funk and disco, pop and rock and should expect big hair and big attitude! Hits featured in the show include Blue Moon, My Baby Just Cares For Me, I Just Called To Say I Love You, Click Song, American Woman, End Of The Road and That’s What Friends Are For.

Hot Chocolate runs from August 29 to October 1. Tickets R100 with Buy One Get One Free promotions running on all Tuesday night and Sunday matinee shows. For bookings and enquiries, phone The Barnyard Theatre on 031 – 566 3045 or e-mail gateway@barnyardtheatre.co.za for more information.

There will be a special lunchtime show for Secretary’s Day on September 6. The cost is R100 per person, including the full show as well as meals by Eat Greek (with a choice of Moussaka, beef, chicken or vegetable lasagne).




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