What else should a bar owner be called than Rick? Yes, our 1942 Casablanca movie classic hearts gave a small jump for joy when Alex Tops introduced himself as Rick in the opening scene of Bar None currently showing at the beautiful Kalk Bay Theatre.
Rick for most of the story is the narrator reflecting on the history of his Dad's New York City bar and the memories that cling to it.
Bar None has a heart-warming storyline with a touch of nostalgia and the quirky script we now almost automatically associate with a Follow Spot production. Pair that with the amazing voices of the fabulously talented acting trio Lucy Tops (Betty), Alex Tops (Rick / Frank) and Grant Jacobs (José) and you are clearly set to be marvelously entertained.
We are always blown away by the sheer talent of Lucy (no exception this time), and we know that Alex can hold his musical own (as he has recently shown in Rocky Horror at the Fugard Theatre as Brad), but it is Grant that really made us take note. When you hear him sing, you will sit up and wonder why it has been two years since he last entertained audiences with a voice that must never go silent.
Alex is also a delight to watch, as he smoothly moves between characters, fully embodying the 1940s dad and 1970s son with a mere change of a hat and dialect. The set is beautifully designed, with a carefully placed gramophone, microphone stand and furniture lending an air of authenticity to the bygone era setting of the story.
The musical inspiration of Bar None is toe tapping swing with a 70s rock n roll twist. You will undoubtedly spontaneously clap, cheer and even want to get up to do a little jig on more than one occasion in this production. With well-known songs like "I Got Rhythm", "Who Wants To Live Forever", "Mr Bojangles", "Can’t Buy Me Love", and "Baby It’s Cold Outside" so beautifully performed, how can you not?!
In addition the the time appropriate music and Betty's almost ethereal appearance and spirit that breathes new life into the failing bar, there is definitely a touch of magic in this story of "music, love, laughter and tears" that will pull at your heartstrings.
Kalk Bay Theatre is a small, intimate venue, so when we say this is a must see musical, don't think spectacular large scale production, but rather imagine fun, feel good and top class talent.
You will not be disappointed if you make a visit to Rick's Bar, a must on your holiday activity list. At R120 per person, tickets for Bar None are flying, so go see this show soon before run ends 18 January 2015. For an added treat, why not reserve your table for a fabulously mouth watering meal at the theatre restaurant. We wish we could eat there every night. While there, remember to ask for one of Grant's famous cocktails and Ash's delicious cortado coffees!
Scene It by Barbara Loots & Fazielah Williams.