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A TASTE OF THOMSON (article first published : 2006-09-24)

Arguably Durban’s best-known guitarist, Barry Thomson has become a well-known figure at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest where he has appeared in shows such as Johnny B. Goode, Coming of Age and most recently the return of the Heritage’s smash hit Neil Diamond tribute, The Jazz Singer.

In his new one-man” guitar show for the Heritage Theatre, Barry Thomson will take audiences on a musical journey through his life, interpreted by his greatest musical inspirations, showcasing his guitar and vocal skills. Some of the stars he will pay tribute to include Santana, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Bad Company, The Eagles and Jethro Tull.

Barry started playing music at the age of seven. He formed his first band at 13 and performed at local schools in Durban before enrolling in the music department at the then Durban Technikon. He graduated in 1991, having specialised in classical and contemporary guitar for four years.

He appeared in the 1988 Sneddon Theatre production of Grease where he came in contact with the Strawberry Fields function band and was offered a permanent position in the band, under the leadership of Dawn Selby. During 1993, Barry performed for a year on the East Coast of the USA before returning to South Africa where he was commissioned by PACT to teach well-known artist Joseph Clarke to play electric guitar in preparation for his role as Buddy Holly in the production of Buddy. He went on to appear with Joseph Clarke in Concert Fever and with him and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Sandton Convention Centre to audiences of 3,000 and 4,500 strong.

Over the last 18 years, he has played for numerous theatre productions at the Elizabeth Sneddon and Playhouse theatres in Durban in shows such as Unisex, You’re so Vain, Red Hot and Country, Godspell, West End Web and Hair. He co-devised and was musical director of the Vita award-winning show The Guitar That Rocked the World, a show following the history of the Fender Stratocaster guitar. The show toured nationally including a season at Artscape in Cape Town from December to January 2001.

He has also performed at the Crowne Plaza 5 star hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and appeared extensively on the Barnyard Theatre circuit. He has now become a familiar face with the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic, performing in various concerts.

Barry now teaches guitar at Kearsney College. A former partner in Strawberry Fields Recording Studio, he is involved in studio session work including composition, guitar playing and main/backing vocals.

Barry also performs an ‘unplugged’ two-hour cocktail set at Mojo’s at The Square in Umhlanga) on Friday evenings from 17h30 to 19h30. He will shortly be appearing at the Whole Hog in Kloof on Wednesday evenings from 17h30 to 19h30.

A Taste of Thomson runs from September 26 to October 8 at the Heritage Theatre at the Heritage Centre in Hillcrest. Show times Tuesday to Saturday (19h00 meal for 20h30 show) and Sunday (12h30 meal for 14h00 show). Tickets R165 Wednesday to Saturday (R140 Tuesdays and Sundays) include a two-course meal. There is a separate dessert menu. Booking essential on 031 765 4197.




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