It’s a ‘whole lotta laughs’

Brett Adkins

A NEW cabaret concept with some roots in the past is set to be launched in Nelson Mandela Bay next week with a pair of the city’s foremost entertainers.

The launch of the fresh initiative for the Radisson Blu Hotel in association with Centrestage, called “Razzlin’ at the Radisson”, will see quarterly shows taking place in a classy and cultural cabaret setting at the top Summerstrand venue.

First up will be Gino Fabbri’s brand new comedy show, Whole Lotta Laughs, next weekend on July 19 and 20, as the funnyman reunites with his “side-chick” Donna Africa.

According to Centrestage’s Gary Hemmings, the shows will be staged in the main function venue at the Radisson, the Bay Suites.

“The future Razzlin’ at the Radisson concept will be to combine the sense of upmarket flair which is inherent in the Radisson with an easy, relaxed setting, with chairs set around thin tables in dinner theatre fashion to promote sociability, with finger-style snack baskets on offer,” he said.

“Reminiscent of the old bioscope days, girls with trays will move around offering biltong, peanuts, popcorn and other items too, while a full bar will also be available.”

Quipped Hemmings: “Regrettably, because Gino and Donna offer the guarantee that audiences will learn absolutely nothing after seeing their show, the ‘culture’ aspect will only kick in next time.”

He said it was initially envisaged that the event would happen once a quarter but it would be seen how the concept worked in conjunction with the availability of the venue “and some other surprises may be in store”.

Hemmings said recalling Centrestage’s roots at the PE Club and the Harbour Sports Café, where the entertainment company presented top South African cabaret and comedy, the future intention was to stage some national acts which were classy but a little bit different.

“We are hoping that the next show will feature the superb and notorious Cape Town drag act Mince, who have just reunited after an absence, for a show which has received rave notices in the Mother City and looks back at 10 years of scintillating showmanship.”

In Whole Lotta Laughs, among other characters, we find Guy O Ryan, who desperately wants to become a game ranger to save the rhinos, putting across some wacky views, while the somewhat tipsy Sister Sisipissterstist and Mother Inferior try to offer a moral compass and Rancid Punjabi advises on what not say to your wife while trying to salvage his own marriage.

Both Fabbri and Africa have become firm Centrestage favourites over the years, with their previous shows Toast, Gino Fabbri is Completely Nuts and Funny Galore having garnered a big fan-base.

Tickets for the two Radisson shows cost R120 each (R110 for bookings of eight or more). Thereafter, the show continues the following week at Old Grey until July 27, where tickets cost R110/R100. Three special fund-raising performances will take place. The July 23 performance will be in aid of the Catholic Order of the Knights of Da Gama. To buy tickets, contact Richard Spargo on 082-490-0558.

The Wednesday July 24 show is an Amma Putta Putta Golf Society corporate evening. Contact Shaun Ryan on 072-841-6515 to book a table.

The Thursday July 25 show will raise funds in aid of the San Francesco Church Building Fund. Contact Elaine Watson on 083-966-0018.

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