Review: Bar None at Kalk Bay Theatre


Bar NoneAs you take your seat in Kalk Bay Theatre, something shifts. It’s not winter in Cape Town anymore.

A barman stands behind the bar, centre-stage, and polishes a series of glasses until they reflect his pencil moustache. Another barman, who introduces himself as Rick, makes smalltalk with the audience. He’s welcoming the audience to step into the seventies with him, then further decades into the past. Bar None, both a bar and a show, welcomes you into a certain kind of nostalgia. The kind where magic is real, true love exists, lifelong friendships are formed over late night conversations and everything is celebrated through song.

Barman Rick narrates a story his father, Frank (Alex Tops) had told him. The day that everything changed when Betty (Lucy Tops) appeared in Bar None as if she had always been there, walking straight from nowhere into Frank’s heart. Like a Mary Poppins sorting out the booze-stained counters of a bar in downtown New York in the 40’s, Betty and her captivating voice change the story of Bar None. And Frank’s story along with it. The couple’s on-stage interaction is picture postcard perfect. The third party, José (Grant Jacobs), drops a few surprising numbers in his silky voice, his otherwise demure Mexican character the source of many sly jokes.

Even if you’ve seen this show before, it has evolved since its run at the National Arts Festival and has a handful of clever new twists and turns for its audience. Plus, the selection of songs from days gone by will resonate with every nostalgic bone in your body, especially those performed by songbird Lucy Tops. This is another classic show from Follow Spot Productions.  Get out of the cold and have your heart warmed.

Marilu Snyders

Bar None runs at Kalk Bay Theatre, Cape Town, from 21 July to 2 August 2015.



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