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MASTERS OF ROCK (article first published : 2003-07-20)

If the music of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, Toto and Queen is your scene, then head without delay to The Dockyard Supper Theatre and Stuart Mey’s latest production, Masters of Rock. It is a supper music show, rather than supper ”theatre” along the lines of his previous successful productions Santana and Legend of Eagles and focuses on the music of well-known and popular rock icons, mainly from the 70’s.

The show has an impressive opening with the sound of a helicopter and you could be forgiven for thinking that they’ve taken the roof off the Dockyard and the PortNet pilot is being ferried out to one of the vessels entering the harbour channel alongside.

From then on, it’s power plus all the way. Expect to hear good renditions of numbers such as Long Train Running; Light My Fire; Rockin’ all over the World; Brick in the Wall, Born to be Wild, We Will Rock You and, particularly, Babe.

Stuart Mey can be relied on to stay true to the original performers’ styles and has the commendable philosophy of incorporating new talent in his shows. This mix of veteran performers and vibrant up-to-date energies makes for a good combination. The impressive talents of guitarists Gerald Knott and Bruce Boom (and Stuart Mey himself) combined with Ian Webster and Mark Whittaker on drums make for a strong backing. On keyboards, I was delighted to see for the first time the much-hailed Musa Mtetwa on keyboard – a definite talent to watch.

Soloists are Shanthan and Derrick Anderson, although you wouldn’t guess this from the ultra casual way in which they are dressed. Regular readers will know my hobbyhorse of expecting good articulation and diction from performers – well, it is my job, after all! – and it always colours my response to any song. It was a delight to be able to hear everything that Derrick Anderson sang and here is another talent to keep an eye on. A major highlight for me was his Stairway to Heaven. Shanthan is known for his gutsy, powerful and energetic presentation and he is a very generous performer but I missed many of his lyrics.

There’s not a lot of scope for a set in a show like this but some effort has been made to create a visual image incorporating large dramatic rock-like structures which act as good receiving points for the lighting. There are two drum kits on stage, so you know you’re in for some hectic rhythm and you can be part of the action by using the “drum sticks” provided on each table. I tried to copy Ian Webster’s every move – I failed hopelessly but it was great fun!

In the supper theatre genre, the food is as important as the show and in order to work, the two must complement each other.

While the dishes carried fun names nicely suited to the production and the portions are generous, the meal was somewhat of a disappointment and didn’t stand up to The Dockyard’s standard to date. The best part was when my husband – who normally runs a mile when faced with salad – pronounced the lettuce beautiful and crisp, as indeed it was. Mozzarella is not the most flavoursome of cheeses and I felt that the Mozzarella Styxx would have been better served in slimmer portions to take advantage of the peri peri sauce. The Rock Chick Greek Salad, as I mentioned, passed with flying colours. The other starter, Smokin’ on the Water Chicken Livers, is served peri peri style.

On the main course, Born to be Wild Calamari left me unsafisfied as it was fairly bland and the lemon “butter” was quite oily. The Ragin’ Rockstar Rump served with Camembert was pronounced by my other half as a bit tough. The other main choices are Alice Cooper’s Very Own Spatchcock Chicken and Whole Lotta Pasta. The Stairway to Heaven Cappuccino Mousse was beautifully smooth, light and wickedly rich! The other choices are delightfully named Easy Ridin’ Dom Pedro and Ozzie’s Sure Paranoid Tonight Irish Coffee!

Masters of Rock runs at the Dockyard Supper Theatre until August 17 and there is no possibility of an extension. Performances Tuesdays to Sundays, with special discounted prices for selected nights. Tickets range from R135 to R170 and include a three course meal. Book at Computicket or at the theatre on 031 332 1086. - Caroline Smart




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