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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

CHICKS ROCK (article first published : 2007-06-1)

Chicks Rock running at the Heritage Theatre is a salute to women’s influence on the music industry. It’s a power-house celebration of the considerable contribution to the pop charts made by singers of note such as Janis Joplin, Nancy Sinatra, Bette Midler, Donna Summer, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner and Annie Lennox, to name a few.

A suitably bemused Barry Thomson introduces the audience to the theme and then proceeds to be browbeaten, flirted with and teased by the forthright trio of Angela Dodds, Catherine Mace and Jessey Boyle who set out to prove that – never mind guys - chicks really rock!

With Dawn Selby as musical director on the keyboards, the backing ensemble features drummer Mali Sewell, bass guitarist Mark Free and Barry himself.

Barry determinedly supports the male rockers by playing numbers like The Eagles’ Whole Lot of Love, John Lennon’s Woman and Richard Marx’s Right Here Waiting performed in a cool metallic blue lighting state. He tries to introduce ABBA numbers but gets boots thrown at him from Catherine Mace for his pains! Although Catherine and Angela eventually take pity on him and present an ABBA medley.

Expect to hear numbers such as Get the Party Started, Call Me, Ironic, Hot Stuff, Funky Town, Bette Davis Eyes, These Boots Are Made for Walking, Time After Time and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. My favourites were Angela’s Eternal Flame (The Bangles), Catherine’s Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin) and Jessie’s Gloria (Laura Branagan). Dawn’s performance of Heart’s Barracuda was a definite audience favourite.

Peter Court has designed some attractive costumes ranging from the funky to the glam with boots, Stetsons and caps adding to the appeal. The only outfits I weren’t happy with were the starkly simple and inappropriate white gowns appearing in The Rose. The press release also states that Peter Court has “loosely directed” the show and herein possibly lies the answer to some of the shortcomings of Chicks Rock at tonight’s performance. Many numbers are lacking in tight movement energy to match the pumping rhythm and I felt that the performers were not sufficiently prepared. However, these are temporary problems which will no doubt have been rectified in the next few days or so.

Tina le Roux has created a stage setting resembling a rock concert presentation with some exciting lighting sequences. I particularly liked the peppermint pink effects in the ABBA medley. There is a lack of lighting downstage and this should be sorted out as the performers are often “out of the light” in this position.

Chicks Rock is an excellent choice for Heritage – it’s fun, fast-moving and entertaining with an enjoyable selection of musical numbers.

The meal on offer is also well chosen with Chicken Satays, Soup of the Day and a delicious Ostrich Salad as starters followed by main course choices Baked Line Fish, Galinha a Peri-Peri (Roasted Baby Chicken apparently with a strong peri-peri bite!), Penne Napoletana and Braised Lamb Shank, a long-term favourite at The Heritage, which was my choice. If you opt for the fish be prepared that its artistic presentation means that it probably won’t be served as warm (heatwise) as you might expect.

Chicks Rock runs at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest until July 8. Tickets R175 Wednesday to Saturday evenings (R150 Tuesday evenings and Sunday lunch) include two-course meal and show. Show times are Tuesday to Saturday19h00 (meal) for 20h30 (show) and Sunday lunchtime specials at 12h30 (lunch) and 14h00 (show). To book call 031 765 4197. – Caroline Smart




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