Talented entertainers Craig and Ruth Norris moved to the Costa del Sol from South Africa in 2016. / SUR

From the theatres of Johannesburg to venues on the Costa

Ruth and Craig Norris have become well known for their, acting dancing and singing skills

Tony Bryant
TONY BRYANT

The Costa del Sol's music and entertainment scene boasts no end of talented individuals who have earned admirable reputations over the years, but there are few who have earned this respect in such a short period of time as Ruth and Craig Norris.

The couple, who arrived in Malaga after leaving South Africa in 2016, have made their mark on the coast's entertainment scene working on numerous collaborative and solo musical and theatrical projects.

The couple made the decision to leave their homeland shortly after their daughter was born, a decision instigated by the alarming violent crime rate in Johannesburg.

Craig, who was born in the UK in 1980, but had lived in Johannesburg since he was a young child, had worked in musical theatre - singing, dancing and acting, which is where he met Ruth, to whom he proposed on stage while accompanied by a full orchestra.

The couple had been looking for potential countries in which to make a new life, and after considering Australia and the UK, they eventually decided on Spain, a country that Craig claims "doesn't usually register on the radar for South Africans".

"We always loved South Africa and the people are lovely, but crime is a huge problem and we had our daughter to think of, so we decided to try Europe. We didn't realise how bad it had been until we moved away and settled here," Craig explains to SUR in English.

They settled in Fuengirola because Ruth (43) had discovered The Salón Varietés Theatre, although they relocated to Benalmádena shortly after.

They have since been involved in several shows at the Salón Varietés, and they are also appearing in the forthcoming comedy play, Sylvia, which will be staged in January.

It was their involvement with the amateur theatre that opened the door to the local music scene, and the couple were soon introduced to other expat musicians and singers.

They first came into contact with the popular singer, Lucy Pardoe, with whom Ruth formed the duo Dynamic Divas, but it was to be the formation of the Rock of the Ages band that began to get Ruth and Craig noticed.

"The first gig with Rock of the Ages was a charity night at the Moonlight Lounge in Benalmádena in 2019. After that, we were asked to do a weekly show, but, unfortunately, the Covid pandemia hit," Ruth says.

They have since taken the show, which presents the music of the top stadium rock bands, to venues along the coast, which has helped establish them, and co-members, Lucy Pardoe and Ollie Hughes, as some of the most popular entertainers on the coast.

"There are some excellent musicians on the coast and most of these are wonderful people. We obviously don't get to see many of them perform because we are working also. We have worked with a few on different charity initiatives, and these events are great because it brings us all together," Craig explains.

Their next venture was a disco show complete with dance routines, for which they teamed up with talented singer/dancer Lee Roberts.

"Lee is quite extravagant, and he has, like Craig, a high voice, so we decided to do a disco show called Boogie Wonderland. This includes a full dance show that Lee has choreographed," Ruth says.

When Ruth and Craig are not busy with any of these projects, they present a jazz show, performing the hits of Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, among others.

"I love jazz, and this show is really popular because it is something different. We found a bit of a niche, especially at romantic restaurants and golf clubs," Ruth says, passionately.

Another project that has brought them into contact with several other noted performers on the Costa del Sol is the Pink Floyd Experience, a show that is to be staged in Benalmádena in May 2023.

In the meantime, the couple are winding down for Christmas in order to get some quality time with their daughter over the festive season.

The Boogie Wonderland show can be seen at the Mirror Mirror Bar in Manilva tomorrow night (Saturday).