Head for the PMB cabaret

2013-07-16 00:00

THERE is great news for lovers of music revues and cabarets: Roland Stansell, the man behind the hugely successful Rhumbelow Theatre in Durban has decided to bring a series of shows to Pietermaritzburg, starting this weekend.

Stansell has partnered with the Allan Wilson Shellhole, in Alan Paton Road, to stage two shows a month.

The aim is two-fold: to provide local residents with top-notch theatre and to help raise the profile of the Memorable Order of Tin Hats (Moth) organisation, and help it raise money for charity.

Stansell has had the same kind of partnership with the Rhumbelow Shellhole in Umbilo since July 2001 — although the hall had been used for more than 50 years before that to entertain the community of Durban.

“In early 2001, The Family Players, a group of comedy drag-mime artists who have been doing shows and raising funds for Tafta for some 25 years, where looking for a home,” Stansell said.

“A friend who had been helping with the artwork for our shows, and who was a member of the Rhumbelow Moths, suggested we look at the hall ... the rest is history.”

Over the years, Stansell has invested in the facilities to improve the stage and dressing-room facilities.

“We have since completed further major renovations, including putting up an awning on the side of the building to enlarge the outdoor area, which with Durban’s climate is ideal for braaing,” he said.

“We have also acquired two pianos, one for the stage and one for pre-show music, and finally air conditioning.

“Some of us have became members of the Moths and thus will assist in raising funds for various charity activities that they get involved in.

“We put a new show in every month to run on the first weekend of every month. Our shows are varied and have been good value for money. They are an entertaining evening out in a secure environment at a reasonable price.”

The Pietermaritzburg project came about after Stansell was asked to stage a once-off show at the Allan Wilson Shellhole.

Johann du Plessis, the Provincial Old Bill and a member of the Shellhole, said: “We had a parade and a grand show to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Shellhole on March 27. We battled to get someone to do the show. Then someone suggested that we make use of the Rhumbelow. People enjoyed it so much. That’s when Roland came up with the idea of doing regular shows and we thought it would be a fine way to increase exposure.

“We want people to know what the Moths are about and encourage new members to join.”

This weekend, those plans come to fruition when Lisa Bobbert — the Durban-based star of shows such as Cabaret, My Fair Lady, Shirley Valentine and Abbamania — performs her one-woman extravaganza, Bobbertlicious, at 2 pm and 6.30 pm on Sunday.

Stansell said: “Over the years, we have had many request from our Pietermaritzburg patrons to take shows to the city and now finally we are.”

In Bobbertlicious, the delectable Bobbert unleashes her zany zoo of loopy alter egos. Chantal, Charmaine, Delphine and even Tina Turner, are among the larger-than-life lasses who feature in this not-to-be-missed evening of entertainment.

The talented singer and actress even gets to sing some songs she’s always wanted to — but which no one would allow her to do.

The Rhumbelow Theatre — Pietermaritzburg shows will run on a similar supper-theatre line to the shows in Durban. They will be staged in the Allan Wilson Shellhole hall, with tables seating eight or 10 people.

Patrons are encouraged to take picnic baskets, but no drinks. There is a cash bar run by the Moths. The venue opens 90 minutes before the show for dinner. Booking is essential. Tickets are R100 each from Computicket online and at Checkers and Shoprite counters.

Also coming to Pietermaritzburg will be Say It With Music, starring Anthony Stonier, on August 11; Dave Monks — A Feast of Irish on August 25; Elvis Through the Ages with Dough Weich on September 29; The Glitter Girls, starring Marion Louden, Bobbert and Liesl Coppin on October 20; An Edith Piaf tribute on the 50-year anniversary of her death on either November 17 or 24 (TBC); and a festive show, Tis The Season, featuring Louden and a full band on December 22. For details, phone Roland Stansell at 031 205 7602 or 082 499 8636, or send an e-mail to roland@stansell.za.net or log on to www.rhumbelow.za.net

Patrons can also join Friends of Rhumbelow on Facebook.

• arts@witness.co.za

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