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CHRISTMAS WITHOUT BONEY-M (article first published : 2001-12-5)

Christmas Without Boney-M is an amusing and light-hearted show being performed at the Bella Vista in Botha’s Hill. This venue has been offering supper theatre now for a year and while it undoubtedly offers a charming and comfortable ambience and the food is good and well-prepared, it is time that a decision was made as to whether it is going to take this form of entertainment seriously.

The track record is good with excellent attendances over the year at the varied shows that have been offered. So I believe that it’s time for Bella Vista to think about taking a few committed steps forward. While it is appreciated that the venue’s main focus lies with conferences and weddings, it should look more closely at increasing the lighting for the stage. Also at employing an adhoc light/sound technician to control operations from the back of the room – seeing and hearing the show as the audience does and adjusting lighting and sound accordingly.

While a live band would be wonderful, unfortunately musicians cost money and so performers have to resort to backing tracks. These are fine, provided that there’s someone constantly watching the levels and ensuring that the singers and the lyrics are not overshadowed by the recorded music.

Taking all this into consideration, Frank Smith, Belinda Blindel, Jane Candow and Paul Candow have put together an entertaining show which should prove particularly attractive for those in the Kloof, Hillcrest, Gillitts and Shongweni area where they don’t have to drive too far to get home. Mind you, at an earlier show we were sitting at a table with a group from Howick who are regular supporters of Bella Vista’s supper theatre. They maintained it’s just as far to travel to Botha’s Hill from Howick as it is from Durban!

Christmas Without Boney-M loosely hangs on the storyline that Frank is engaged to one Camilla. We never see this character as they only “communicate” by cell phone (no budget for an extra performer!) but the name Parker-Bowles is casually dropped into the conversation - just so we get the picture that we’re dealing with a fairly high-class scenario.

It’s Christmas and in order to please her love, Camilla sends Frank many gifts – like birds. First of all, a partridge. In a pear tree, for heaven’s sake! Then turtle doves - two of them, in case one wasn’t enough. Closely followed by three French hens (I suppose someone knows the difference in the nationalities of hens!) and a whole tribe - namely, four - of those noisy calling birds …. You get the picture?

Frank is, understandably, hard pressed to cope. Particularly when all those milking maids and leaping lords come thundering across his now-beautifully manured lawn.

Interspersed with all this nonsense are Christmassy and some not-so-Christmassy songs, one being the delightful Grandma got run over by a Reindeer!.

There will be another performance on December 11 at 19h00. Tickets R80 pp includes two-course meal (advance notice required for vegetarians). Discounts available block bookings of 10 or more. To book phone Jane Candow on 031 765-1516




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