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REWIND 2 BLU (article first published : 2001-08-4)

This month has seen the introduction of three new venues onto the theatre and entertainment circuit. This is good news. The more venues, the more work for local performers and the more audiences are attracted to live theatre. Therefore we will hopefully lose less of our talent to Johannesburg. “It’s all happening in Durban” is the cry heard from the entertainment industry around the country but unfortunately the lure of Gauteng and a more lucrative existence is a strong drawcard for performers who battle to survive here in Durban.

The new venues are the historic Jewish Club, once again the home of Friends of Music recitals, the Rumbelow Shellhole in Umbilo and Blu. Situated at 226 Stamford Hill Road, Blu operates as a club on most nights but an ambitious programme is in place to offer live entertainment on a regular basis.

Currently running on Wednesday nights is a cabaret show titled Rewind 2 Blu which is written and directed by Shireen James. Along with Dennis Rubin from the Durban Theatre Academy, Shireen James justly received the Ketan Lakhani award at the recent NOT the Grahamstown Festival. Both directors were acknowledged for their considerable input to the local theatre scene.

Shireen James is indefatigable. She has written a number of hard-hitting and thought-provoking plays and, to my knowledge, this is her second cabaret. She also provides opportunities for lesser-known performers, giving them a chance to prove their worth and grow with experience.

Therefore, Monique Hebrard and Natalie Toyne who appear in Rewind 2 Blu have her to thank for the chance to show off their singing skills in an entertaining programme of jazz and blues favourites as well as contemporary pop numbers. Both have much potential. All they need is experience and continued audience contact and Durban will have two strong performers on its books.

Monique has worked of late with Themi Venturas Productions in shows ranging from Hamlet to The Guitar that Rocked the World. Natalie gave a highly impressive performance in the University of Natal Durban drama department’s acclaimed Sophiatown. She is also about to appear in Kwasuka Theatre Company’s schools production of Shades of Marguerite Poland.

Monique is the better dancer while Natalie has the edge on dramatic ability but they both have a good sense of comedy and work well together. Set at an audition, the storyline is loosely based on Monique’s rocky love affair which is viewed with much amusement by the more cynical Natalie. More work needs to be done on dialogue and interaction but when they sing, all is forgiven! Particularly notable are numbers like If You Go Away, I’m Outta Love, I’ve Got You Under My Skin and Wanna Do Right

Musical direction is by Colin Peddie and choreography by Denya Maslen. Tickets R45 include a snack platter. Booking essential on 072 223-3475.




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