Review: Eight men on stage at Kalk Bay Theatre, creating a beautiful Noise – variety, music, dance, techno effects and fab hip hop interlude

Noise- variety, technology, music and dance

Where: Followspot Kalk Bay Theatre at Brass Bell Restaurants & Pubs, Main Rd, Kalk Bay
Featuring: Ashley Searle, Brad Searle, Steven Dennett, Gareth Christie, Liam McDermott, Darren Greeff, Nathi Mazwai and Che-Jean Jupp
Director: Vanessa Harris
Choreography: Ash Searle
When:  Bookings up to September 17, 2022.  8.15pm – Thurs-to Sat. End date of season TBA
Tickets: R250 at via Quicket
Info: WhatsApp  066 205 5063 or-e-mail

Age restriction: No 18s    

Noise –which opened early August 2022 at the Kalk Bay Theatre- features a dynamic man-only cast – of eight. That is a lot of bods on the compact stage at the theatre. This talented troupe does it all – singing, dancing and acting. The stage space has been stripped back of all the usual accessories – cubes, pulleys, poles (for pole dancing- okay there is none of that in this show). They need every bit of floor space as the man-up for an energetic and fun show. Noise is signature Kalk Bay Theatre entertainment. It is an opportunity for the audience to hoot, cheer and dance (wiggle in one’s seat kind of thing; on feet, for encore). Noise gets the #OhMy rating by #TheCapeRobyn.

Last weekend (August 16, 2022) and the 90-seater venue was packed. The show was sold out and deservedly so. Tremendous work has gone into conceptualising Noise. On one level it is KBT variety with music and dance but underscoring the show is an endearing script which reflects on ‘noise’. Ash Searle as host of the show (with his brother Brad Searle adding his two bobs worth), muses that “sound is very important in creating noise”. Sound tempers how we ‘feel’.  Noise, he notes is a “combination of different sounds.” In this show, the Searle brothers tell us that in Noise, they are going to introduce us to different sounds. We are treated to their rendition of a folk gangster battle cross-over rapper number- which they quip, has roots in Pretoria. It is a whacky version of Hiphopapotamus vsRhymenocerous– originally performed by Flight of the Conchords – a New Zealand musical comedy duo. It is hilarious. I had no idea that there is an actual song titled Hiphopapotamus vsRhymenocerous. Team Followspot has the knack of dredging out offbeat fun songs. They take on silly songs and make them their own. Nathi Mazwai chides the Searle Bros that this is not rap. The brothers’ rejoinder is that it is considered rap- in Pretoria. In response, Mazwai takes the stage and delivers his rap smash – a re-write of Eminem’s Forget About Dre (2001). Sensational. The screen is lit up with techno graphics- a visual noise – lines, squiggles, emojis, memes, images. This rapster number is a lament and a celebration of technology; how it rules our lives; how we love and hate it; how we need it and shouldn’t be connected all the time but if we disconnect- then the rest is noise?

Ash Searle does a fab beat-box number – ala Justin Timberlake. There is sensational tap dance with the incredible Darren Greeff giving a showstopper performance. There is an act with plastic buckets, reminiscent of the show Stomp!. Stomp was about using found objects as musical instruments and creating sounds from the ‘noise’ and percussion. This connects with the conceptual arc of Noise- the show.  Ash and Brad do their dance moves and tease out cirque and major lifts, with Mazwai in the loop – awesome. A bit of naughty here – hence the no under 16 age restriction. In between there is another educational song by the Searle Bros- ‘a gender reversal reveal, gender reversal reveal’. The band – Steven Dennett, Gareth Christie, and Liam McDermott – dish up dreamy covers and mashed up versions, such as Wake Me Up & Save Tonight. Liam McDermott gyrates to Sexy & I know It. This evoked shrieks of appreciation. Che-Jean Jupp leads a capella, with Hello, by Adele.

Noise is a heady mix of sounds – the tap of the tap dancers, whoosh of bodies (the sounds of sweat and panting), beat box, rapping; beating of drum sticks, sounds of laughter, clapping, audience chatter. The comedy feeds off audience participation. Note: If you do not want to participate, then don’t sit in the front row.  Our audience was willing and loving every moment- relishing being there and being entertained. The techno visuals are great – beamed onto the screen behind the performers- heighten the moves, dance and song on stage. There is a delicious voice-over riff: How tuned in are we to frequencies and sounds? With each show, Followspot ups its game- production values (design) and performance (dance, voice and comedy). Noise is top notch entertainment- heaps of fun.  The show is booking until mid-September. Many houses have sold out. The run may be extended but it may not, so book while you can.

Brothers in arms: Ash Searle and Bradley Searle in Noise, Kalk Bay Theatre, Cape Town, August 2022. Supplied.
Tapper: Darren Greeff dazzles with his tap dance moves in Noise, Kalk Bay Theatre, Cape Town, August 2022. Supplied.
Rollicking entertainment: Noise at the Kalk Bay Theatre, Cape Town, August 2022. © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.
The art of seating: Find your seat with your name on it – hand-drawn/written by Vanessa Harris. Noise at the Kalk Bay Theatre, Cape Town, August 2022.
© TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen.

✳ Featured image: From left – Bradley Searle, Steven Dennett, Darren Greeff and Che-Jean Jupp. Supplied.