Crooner Rory back in town

HE has sailed the seas and entertained celebrities and royalty, but now one of the Eastern Cape's favourite crooners is back in Port Elizabeth and looking forward to entertaining locals with the very best of his repertoire.

Rory McLaren, 36, well known for his appearances in Centrestage shows in which he has paid tribute to some of the world's greatest entertainers including Freddie Mercury and Elvis, has spent the last five years performing aboard a cruise ship.

He then sang in a chain of fine dining supper club restaurants in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

"I would spend six nights at one restaurant and then six nights at another and I did Queen, Elvis, Frank Sinatra – all the big names," McLaren said.

"While I was there I sang for Rafael Nadal, Jonty Rhodes, Freddy Flintoff and the king and queen of Swaziland, who booked out the whole restaurant. Roger Federer often came to the restaurants and he lived near me."

But after years abroad, and with a suitcase crammed full of glitzy new stage attire bought in one of the world's shopping capitals – including a sequined jacked weighing 2kg – McLaren hopes to stay in South Africa for as long as possible.

"I am here for the people who remember me and for those I love the most. I feel completely at home here. For the past few years I have been popping back to PE and East London to visit my sisters, Bonnie and Kerry, and people would always ask me when I would do shows here again.

"I've been missing South Africa and couldn't wait to come back – and I adore Port Elizabeth."

The East London-born singer's new show, which runs at the Athenaeum Little Theatre for three nights this week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Titled Evergreen, it will consist of McLaren’s favourite songs and pay tribute to great singers like Queen, Elvis Presley, Josh Groban and  Michael Buble. The show is at 7.30pm daily and tickets  at R100 are available from Computicket or  at the door. McLaren will be taking his show to East London, Uitenhage and Durban, and possibly to Cape Town and Johannesburg. - Barbara Hollands