Rocking the Bar ReviewROCKING THE BAR. Directed by Vanessa Harris. Choreographer: Anna Olivier. Musical Director: Ash Searle. Sound, lighting, set, costumes: Vanessa Harris and Nicki Sisson. Cast: Lucy Tops, Line Koen, Alex Tops, Bradley Searle, Ash Searle. Kalk Bay Theatre.


I haven’t been to a Kalk Bay Theatre/FollowSpot production for some time, but I do know that their performances in their new home at the Brass Bell have been pretty much booked out for months. And it’s easy to understand why – the team have mastered the art of packing a substantial punch into 60 to 90 minutes of pure entertainment. When it comes to covering songs and choreographing moves, all in a small space for maximum effect, there’s nobody doing it better – and so consistently – than them.

So it was with nothing but pleasurable anticipation that I went to watch their latest performance, Rocking the Bar. And I was definitely not disappointed.

The show is actually a bit different from the past couple of offerings, which feature an emphasis on song and dance following a particular theme (Wild, Manband, etc). Rocking the Bar is more of a short story, a tale of love and life set in a bar (of course) and featuring an array of likeable characters. There are songs, and there is dancing – but there’s also a narrative linking them all together. And it works well.

Rocking the Bar ReviewFun night out

Set in the Bar None, owner Frank (Alex Tops) is battling with low attendance figures while his loyal staff members Jimmy (Bradley Searle) and Barry (Ash Searle) try their best to keep the lights on. Along comes a saviour in the form of sexy songstress Berry (Lucy Tops), who has a magical way about her – and a gift for getting the crowds. While Frank’s daughter Emily (Line Koen) is initially wary of Berry – Emily is also a singer – she eventually thaws enough to join forces on stage. And meanwhile, Frank falls for Betty …

It’s a sweet, easy-to-follow story that’s bulked up by a solid musical programme of songs, some very familiar (Sweet Caroline, Who Wants to Live Forever, etc), and some not so much (the delightfully quirky Jenny). And of course, there are plenty of smooth moves to go with it all.

Lucy Tops and Line Koen are the stand out vocal stars of this show, but the three dudes are pretty sharp themselves. And there’s nice space for all the characters to have a bit of a solo turn.

Once again, full marks for spot on sound and lighting, totally slick performances and a feel-good narrative that makes everybody leave the theatre with a smile. Honestly, this team is so very, very good at what they do. If you haven’t ever seen them in action – do yourself a favour and book a fun night out. You won’t regret it.

What: Rocking the Bar

Where and when: Kalk Bay Theatre from 30 May to 16 June 2024

Tickets: Quicket