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“Beautiful experience”
Review of Playhouse

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Durban City Half-Day Tour
Ranked #44 of 122 things to do in Durban
Attraction details
Durban, South Africa
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Beautiful experience”
Reviewed January 28, 2013

The Playhouse is amazing. Always go to the dance shows with my family. It is a one-off theatre. Have been going for years and never tire of it.

1 Thank Valerie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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17 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Durban, South Africa
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Lights Out too often”
Reviewed December 12, 2012

The city centre Playhouse was once the thriving heart of theatre performance in a vibrant city. Sadly,a combination of city government haggling and politics and a rising crime rate in the city centre has seen citizens keep away from this fine complex of theatrical venues, which have become under-utilised, with lights off far too often as producers have sought out other venues for their productions , away from the city centre, .Keep an eye on the press for notifications of any productions in the Playhouse, as the building and its studios are part of Durban's cultural heritage.

Visited October 2012
2 Thank Phil J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
91 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed July 2, 2012

Great south african plays and dance dramas are lined up throughout the year. located in central town so parking may be an issue, best to park in a nearby parkade. good fun for a friday night.

Visited May 2012
Thank Kalai_holiday_junkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greater Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2012

Exceptional opportunities and experiences have a way to come disguised in mundane jackets.
The performance of Handel’s ‘MESSIAH’ by the KZN Philharmonic at the Playhouse in Durban is such an occasion.
Nothing in the marketing material, reviews or anything else even hinted at the soul-soaring experience it turned out to be.
The Playhouse is the perfect setting for the performance. It is a grand old place. Having had the privilege of seeing (some of) the opera theatres of Europe such as that of Vienna, I can honestly say that it’s grace and style is much undervalued. It may not be as old nor as opulent as some yet is certainly has the atmosphere.
The performance of the conductor and his orchestra was so powerful that the few imperfections in the production as a whole stood out as starkly as the sparse décor and yet it did not detract one iota!
One wonders whether the static décor is the only way or whether a more kinetic approach may have enhanced the performance. It is in all probability a budget issue as well as a trend in the industry. The same style has been observed internationally.
The choreography is of the highest order and the use of the stage lighting enhances the overall experience as it directs attention away from the inevitable moving of bodies and towards the next performance highlight and focus. The mute projection of imagery from birth to crucifixion and ascension keeps the story-line alive.
The most troublesome aspect of the performance is the quality of the two male soloists. Both are good musical mechanics. The voices are there, good voices but the inflection and the passion is not. The day is however saved by the superb quality of the orchestra. The female soloists are excellent. They successfully convey emotion and are animate in their delivery. Not overly so but enough to maintain the inexorable advance of the musical story-line.
The massed choir is exceptional. The choir master and the choreographer(s) must be commended. The massed voices became a living organism. The soaring, hovering, dipping voices as one, like bees in a flower garden. Up close each an individual contribution, from a distance all a beautiful harmony of divine sound.
I sat with my eyes closed at times. Brought on at first by the incessant flashing of cell-phone screens and the fidgeting of unappreciative people but found that it opened a whole new universe of sound.
The orchestra! The conductor finessing out of them music that is pure emotion. Sitting with my eyes closed, I could hear each instrument. I could hear the conductor coax others into the fray. Sometimes softly slipping into the harmony and at others suddenly bursting in, lifting the melody to new heights of passion. At times bringing with it the lament and sorrow of something great and beautiful lost or carrying with it the heat and noise of sheer anger; only to slide back into the perfect harmony of a divine life.
The ‘ Hallelujah’ and the finale left one breathless. The performance drew one out of yourself. Allowing you to feel the raw tragedy and triumph of ‘The Messiah’ .

Visited April 2012
1 Thank Loeloeraai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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