Stage review: Sassy, sophisticated, fabulous: After Dark is a vital booster shot of entertainment- celebrate the new year of 2022 with this energetic, beautifully staged show with breathtaking dance, cirque and comedy

What: After Dark (cirque, burlesque, cabaret, dance, comedy)
Where: The Kalk Bay Theatre at the Brass Bell
When: Until January 29, 2022-  Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Time: 7.30pm for 8pm – there is a before-show set from about 7.15pm
Age advisory: No under 18s
Booking advisory: Patrons who dine before at the Brass Bell, get preferential seating
Tickets: R250 at via Quicket
WhatsApp line: 066 205 5063
E-mail enquiries:  

We saw After Dark in late December, with Omicron on the boil and freaking people out. First up, I must put it out, before the rave review begins, that sliding windows are kept wide open at the Kalk Bay Theatre. If one is seated on the edges of the theatre, one can hear the ocean lapping. It is lovely. If you want to go to theatre but are wary of enclosed spaces, in this never-ending pandemic, the KBT ticks the ventilation box. The KBT is on the grounds of the Brass Bell Restaurant and is literally a theatre on the ocean. It feels like one is on a pontoon in the ocean, a floating theatre. Before the show started, stage manager Luella Holland, kindly pulled open the black-out curtains and we watched a beautiful sunset. Breathtaking. See pic. Then the show and whoah. After Dark is a fabulous show- cirque, cabaret, comedy and dance. Each set has been impeccably crafted and staged – with astounding attention to design- lighting, costumes, sound. The team has taken its approach to cirque to another level of excellence. Yeah, that good.

With all the angst around us, I needed this show desperately. The buzz in December was – “Can’t wait until I get my vax booster”. Well, whether you are eligible for the vax booster or not. After Dark provides a vitality charged boost of entertainment. After Dark is signature KBT/Followspot theatre – variety show with cirque, cabaret, specialty acts, comedy and dance. A few favourite speciality sets from past shows have been included such as the “towel act” but in After Dark, the comedy and risqué factor has been amped up with brothers Ash and Brad Searle, delivering a kick-ass interlude of hilarity and dexterity. This rendition of the towel act is the un-cut version; perhaps we should say the unplugged version. They have huge fun with gripping and dropping the towel- slip-sliding away. How far will they go to keep that towel in place? Utterly mesmerising and interesting for me to see how they have developed this act – from modest – to what we are seeing now – a naughty tussle between the brothers Searle- revealing flashes of the crown jewels. The timing is brilliant as they whip the towel around- with huge grins on their faces- a class act. This show has an age restriction of no under 18s, so please do not take the kidlets. It is adult fare.

 It was wonderful to see KBT regulars in action: Vanessa Harris, Ash Searle, Hannah Hishin, Bradley Searle, Jessica Kohler and the dashing Liam Gillespie. LAMTA graduate Morgan Marshall is a newcomer to the KBT troupe and is breathtaking to watch – check out her burlesque number. On the night we saw the show, Anna Olivier replaced Emily Isted as she was down with Covid. Oliver is an outstanding dancer and I hope to see her on stage, again. The amazing Emily Isted is back on stage for the January 2022 season.

A new innovation for the KBT, is Pole- Pole Dancing. In After Dark, we see a dazzling pole dance between Brad Searle and Jessica Kohler. The Pole is hinged into the ceiling on the small stage and provides a fabulous contraption for these accomplished artists to drape and wrap themselves around. The dance in this particular set is astounding. I look forward to more pole dance in future shows and to more cirque. The small stage operates as a frame for the strength acts (on the pole, chandelier and other acts). There is a sense of tension – one gasps as the artists balance and do not fall off onto the stage floor.  It is magical to see the array of acts unfolding – with comedy links by Vanessa Harris and Ash Searle – a cabaret injection. Their shtick is delicious as they interact with the audience. To sum up – a superbly crafted cirque/comedy/dance show in a beautiful theatre on the ocean in Kalk Bay – with the sounds of the waves wafting through the sliding doors. Most of the December 2021 shows sold out, so bookings advisable for the January 2022 season. I loved After Dark and highly recommend this show, as a huge upper of a theatre experience. This show evokes the magic of the night and the possibilities of what can occur, After Dark. Most of us cannot do a pole dance but we can become immersed in the thrill and excitement, in this terrific show.

Pole dance: Sensational act with Ash Searle and Jessica Kohler in After Dark. ©TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, December 18, 2020.

Slip-sliding towel act: Ash Searle and Brad Searle, in After Dark.
©TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, December 18, 2020.

Theatre and sunset: Watching a glorious Kalk Bay sunset, in the Kalk Bay Theatre, which is on the grounds of the Brass Bell Restaurant, in what used to be referred to as the Bikini Bar.© TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, December 18, 2020.

After Dark at the Kalk Bay Theatre

Vanessa Harris
Ash Searle
Hannah Hishin
Bradley Searle
Jessica Kohler
Liam Gillespie
Morgan Marshall
Emily Isted  

Anna Olivier replaced Emily Isted for the first two weeks as Emily was out of action, with Covid  

❇ Featured image: supplied.