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SCENE IT: ManBand.II brings the new KBT vibe —it’s a treat!

Barbara Loots


The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been far-reaching, with the arts taking some of the biggest hits. So, it was with much sadness that we read the Kalk Bay Theatre Facebook post of 19 May 2020 sharing that Followspot’s Kalk Bay Theatre would be no more… that is, until the delightful news broke on 12 August 2020 that they found a new home!

With the opening night of the revived Kalk Bay Theatre on 6 November 2020, Ashley Searle explained that when they closed the door on the old church that was home to KBT for many years, they turned around and another door opened … literally … across the street, at the Brass Bell!

KBT’S new home sees the Brass Bell’s Bikini Bar transformed into an exquisite cabaret club styled venue with glass ceiling and a spectacular waters edge setting. It’s the perfect expression to the always charming Followspot collective’s energy that we’ve come to love and appreciated for the razzle-dazzle delights.

MANBAND.II (the opening show choice of the real KBT Boss, Vanessa Harris) sets the tone for many more fun nights of theatre to come. The show sees brothers Ash Searle and Bradley Searle joined on stage by Alex Tops, Liam McDermott and Liam Gillespie.

They kick off the show with Jersey Boys like flair (matching sneakers, denims and blazers), sleek choreography and Greece-meets-Dirty-Dancing vibe music. Even the youngest member in the audience will find appeal in the sense of nostalgia (both in song and KBT style) that reverberates through the new space: a perfect mix of beautiful harmonies and comical quips.

With a great collection of numbers —a musical seasons interview, tap dance quick-change, ode to the Bee Gees, some ginger-rights activism, and a campfire guitar medley— MANBAND.II aims (and succeeds) in lifting the spirits, while striking a balance between toe-tapping and slow-sultry tunes. The show even has moments when one would swear the boys could be leaning towards some Magic Mike auditions with moves that would leave Right Said Fred questioning his “too sexy” status.

With lights, mist, moves, poses and a touch of interpretative dance, the thoroughly sanitised boys deliver vocal arrangements that invite you to sing along to favourites, such as Blue Moon, Let Your Love Flow, Can’t Buy Me Love and Runaway, to name but a few.

So, put on your favourite sequin mask, book your tickets through Quicket, and go take a comfy Kalk Bay Theatre seat as you enjoy the music and the mood of MANBAND.II in Followspot’s absolutely gorgeous new theatre-on-the-sea. You have until 16 January 2021 to see the MANBAND.II troupe “squeak some tekkie” —thanks Alex Tops for that description, we’re definitely stealing that one!

Before you rush off to go book your tickets, remember to also keep an eye out for Wednesday comedy nights and some Sunday band jams that will pop up as future KBT offerings along with their quintessential shows and some new and upcoming artist features.


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