MAKE WAY … THE QUEEN IS COMING!

A journey to the heart of FABULOUS …

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT

The hit musical makes its SA debut with local cast.

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Get ready for the musical journey of your life!  The critically-acclaimed hit musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert based on the Oscar-winning hit film makes its South African premiere at Artscape, Cape Town on Tuesday, 28 March 2017.  Presented by Showtime Management in association with Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and Nullarbor Productions, and featuring an all South African cast, Priscilla will be on stage at Artscape until Sunday, 23 April, thereafter moving to Montecasino’s Teatro from Friday, 28 April to 18 June 2017. Tickets are now on sale at Computicket. Hashtag: #PriscillaSA. Brought to South Africa in association with BBC First.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical originally opened in Australia in 2006 and after a sell-out two year run, opened on London’s West End followed by Broadway in New York. The show continues to wow audiences across the globe with recent return tours to the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It has won awards all over the world, including prestigious Olivier and Tony awards.

Critics the world over rave! The Herald Sun (Australia) claims the show is “Vivid, daring and over-the-top” while The Daily Telegraph (UK) sums up the show as being “hugely entertaining … insanely glitzy”.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert is a heart-warming and uplifting tale of three drag artist friends who hop aboard a battered old bus aka “Priscilla” and go off on the adventure of a life-time through the Australian Outback, to perform in Alice Springs.  On the way they find friendship, love and far more than they ever dreamed of.

With a dazzling array of over 500 award-winning costumes, 200 extraordinary head-dresses and a hit parade of dancefloor favourites including I Will Survive, Hot Stuff, Finally, Boogie Wonderland, Go West, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and I Love The Nightlife, this wildly fresh and funny musical is a journey to the heart of FABULOUS!

Showtime Management’s Hazel Feldman says: “Priscilla is the ultimate ‘feel-good’ show. This dazzling musical has all the ingredients for a superb night out: the most wonderful costumes, outrageous glamour, music that will have you dancing in your seat and a funny yet touching storyline. No wonder this show has been such a massive hit from the West End to Broadway and beyond.”

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The proudly South African, exceptionally talented 28-member cast, live band, crew and creative team will give audiences a night of unforgettable performances, nostalgic music and an entertainment experience with all the sparkle to share in Priscilla’s “fabulousness”.

The principal roles will be played by stellar stage, screen and television performers including David Dennis who has achieved prominence in leading roles from classical to contemporary and musical theatre to film and television over the past three decades (Pirates of Penzance, Starlight Classics and movies 10000BC, Winnie and Zambezia); Daniel Buys (Jersey Boys, West Side Story, Saturday Night Fever); Phillip Schnetler (Saturday Night Fever, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) and veteran actor, James Borthwick (Sunset Boulevard, Evita and over 200 other productions).

Additional roles are played by Taryn-Lee Hudson (Singin’ in the Rain, Jersey Boys), Chantal Herman (Little Shop of Horrors, Evita, Noah of Cape Town) and Candice van Litsenborgh (AnnieSweeney Todd, Sunset Boulevard) with Candida Mosoma (Lion King, Sister Act, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat), The Voice of SA finalist, Thembeka Mnguni (High School Musical, Grease) and Durban born Londiwe Dhlomo (Cabaret, Little Shop of Horrors, Puss in Boots) as the three dazzling Diva’s.

The ensemble features a host of multi-talented local performers including Tshepo Ncokoane (Shrek, Janice Honeyman’s Pantomime Sleeping Beauty); Zane Gillion (Sister Act, Saturday Night Fever, Dirty Dancing); Michael Fullard (Hot Mikado, Sleeping Beauty, Sneeuwitjie); Michael Wallace (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Cabaret, West Side Story); Craig Hawks (Black Sails television series, My Fair Lady); Ryan Flynn (Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Sound of Music, Jersey Boys), Samuel Hyde (Singin’ in the Rain SA, Asia and Australia/New Zealand Tour); Henk Opperman (Private Presley, Dirty Dancing the Musical SA and Asia). Fresh new talent includes Dirk Joubert, Jonathan Raath, Nadine Grobbelaar, Donae Brazer, Lourens Obermeyer and Darius Engelbrecht.

Original Priscilla international Director, Simon Phillips together with Choreographer, Andrew Hallsworth will be coming to South Africa to mount the show together with Resident Director, Anton Luitingh; Musical Director, Bryan Schimmel and Resident Choreographer, Duane Alexander.

Board the bus! Bring your “fabulousness” on this highly entertaining journey. Book now at Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or your nearest Computicket service centre.

NB: This musical contains some strong language and adult themes, therefore parental guidance is recommended for children under the age of 12.

For further information visit www.showtime.co.za or www.montecasino.co.za or www.artscape.co.za

Special hospitality packages as well as Show & Stay packages available from Montecasino Hospitality & Corporate Events, (011) 3674250 or montecasino.reservations@tsogosun.com.

Stay current on the latest news through social media on Facebook  Twitter and YouTube  #PriscillaSA

 

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A Fever You’ll Want to Catch!

A Review of Saturday Night Fever, currently on stage at the South African State Theatre

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I’ll start off with a confession – I’ve never seen the film version of Saturday Night Fever!! Shock, horror, yes … you can all pick up your jaws and close your mouths now! I didn’t see John Travolta do the whole strut thing in the iconic 3-piece white suit, I only saw the stills; I didn’t hear the Bee Gees’ soundtrack played in its original backdrop format. Hence, when I heard the adapted radio versions, I had no clue of their actual depth or meaning. But that’s all ancient history, relegated to what had become that somewhat lacklustre Disco file of the late 70’s, when I was %$# years old!

Roll on to September 2016 and Bernard Jay’s production of Saturday Night Fever hits the Opera Theatre of The South African State Theatre … I’m now $%*@ years old, and I’m damn excited about it all! Disco’s back! It’s fun, fab, retro and groovy (ok, I know, nobody uses that word)! Glitter balls, go-go boots, big hair and colour, lots and lots of colour!

The storyline goes roughly something like this (just in case you’re part of the uninformed minority):

It’s June 1977, the hottest summer on record and New York is sizzling. Down in the boroughs racial tension is brewing, jobs are scarce and people are angry. Money’s tight, hope seems like a foolish luxury and the only light on the horizon is the glittering disco ball above the dance floor in the club where Tony Manero and his crew, The Faces, hang out on a Saturday night. Tony is ‘da man’. He struts, he moves, he grooves, and everyone else is in awe, especially Annette. Unfortunately, he would prefer the aloof Stephanie Mangano to be as awestruck, but that’s going to take a bit of work on his part. Throw in a side-plot or two, some angst, some religious guilt and there you have it! Oh, and don’t forget all that unforgettable Bee Gees music – Staying Alive, Night Fever, More Than A Woman, Disco Inferno, What Kind of Fool … and of course, many more.

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And it’s all here, everything that can be crammed into a nutshell stage show, and Jay has pulled no punches with putting together a theatrical dream team for this creation. Sarah Roberts’ costumes are spot-on, instantly transporting you to that era of (slightly embarrassing) flares, high waists and wide lapels. Award-winning director Greg Homann proves that he’s clearly able to cast his net a lot wider than solely serious theatre. In this, his musical directing debut, he’s done a sterling job. Musical maestro Rowan Bakker, assisted by Drew Bakker directs his 8-piece band with pacey, up-beat panache through, what for many, is a trip down a music memory lane (by the way … just a quick shout out to Trombone player Dan Selsick … you know, trombone players never get mentioned, so … hi). The energetic, vibrant cast are put through their paces by choreographer Weslee Lauder, who ensures that every step, lift, spin and turn is executed with slick precision.

But oh my word … that set!! Denis Hutchinson has created a living, breathing entity that surges around the stage as if it is its own entirely separate, individual character! It opens, shuts, slides, rises, sinks, splits – I almost wanted to ask it to make me a cup of coffee!  It is an innovation of design genius, enhanced by ingenious, strategic lighting.

And to populate this epic masterpiece, one needs a bunch of gorgeous looking talent, which we have in shovel-loads. The cast is a cohesive and comfortable ensemble, ably navigating the ups and downs that their characters endure, as the audience is quickly swept up and into their lives, their struggles and their triumphs. Accolades must go to:

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Daniel Buys as Tony Manero

Daniel Buys, playing an understated Tony. There’s every opportunity for him to overplay the role, but he reigns it in, allowing his talent and charm to shine through whether he’s taking to the floor at the 2001 Odyssey nightclub, or singing his poignant solo rendition of ‘Tragedy’.

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LJ Neilsen as Annette

LJ Nielsen, for her touching portrayal of the sweet but vacuous Annette, who has yet to discover who she really is. Nielsen’s beautiful, rich voice certainly can’t fail to catch the audience’s attention, even though Annette failed to catch Tony’s. And I have to say, I particularly loved her facial expressions. They just added an extra nuance to her entire performance!

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Natasha van der Merwe as Stephanie with Daniel Buys as Tony

Natasha van der Merwe for her perfect depiction of the ‘on the surface’ cool and collected Stephanie Mangano, while below that tough exterior she’s paddling for all she’s worth! Stephanie epitomises every ‘Tony’ trying to improve his life, determined not to be dragged back to where they started from, but struggling between a new life and acknowledgement of their roots. Van der Merwe gets it right on all levels, striking a balance between tentative and determined and finishing strong.

 

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Kiruna-Lind Devar as Pauline with Matthew Berry as Bobby

Kiruna-Lind Devar, the sweet-faced and even sweeter voiced Pauline who only wants to do the right thing. Watch this space people; this is a young performer going places. Big places!

 

Sebe Leotlela as nightclub singer Candy is incredible and deserves more prominence, as does Bongi Mthombeni as Monty, who could also be put to much better use here.

Take the show for what it is. It’s an enjoyable musical; a bit of a serious theme here and there, but lightened up with many well-known sing-a-long tunes, well-executed dance numbers, a bunch of great looking people in colourful clothes, on a drop-dead incredible moving set! It’s not rocket science, don’t try and read too much into it. Just go and have fun … we all need to have a lot more fun and we’re damn lucky that we have a bunch of people out there who are working their butts off to give it to us!

Saturday Night Fever is on at the Opera Theatre at the South African State Theatre in Pretoria until October 9.

If you haven’t already booked at Computicket, go and do that right now! Why are you still reading this? Go … book … NOW!!!

[PHOTO CREDITS: SANMARI MARAIS]

Big Day for Dapper Dogs

Every dog, as the saying goes, has its day.

The pooches of Parkview – whether pretty, pug-faced or pedigreed – are being pampered, preened and prepared for their big occasion.

It’s the inaugural dog show being held at the Parkview Golf Club on the afternoon of Sunday, 25 September (starting at 14:00) as part of the club’s year-long centenary celebrations.

“It’s one of several events the club has arranged for the year to involve local communities in the celebration of our 100 years,” said Franco Pellegrini, chairman of the club’s centenary committee. “Of course, we welcome domestic pets and their owners from all the suburbs around us.”

He stresses that the accent is on fun rather than stringent examinations of breeding and appearance.

“The pooches will be judged in categories including puppies, the ugliest and cutest dogs, dogs who resemble their owners, the best six legs shared by dogs and their owner, and the dog the judges would most like to take home.  And we’ll have some great prizes for them,” Franco says.

The afternoon will include displays by the Marks Park All Breeds Canine Club Johannesburg and Dancing with Dogs.  There will be other attractions for children and food and drinks will be on sale.

“Most pets are part of the family,” says Franco, “so we’re looking forward to a great afternoon for everyone.”

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All set for the big Parkview dog show … Rocky, the Yorkshire terrier and Zuzu, the daschund, with Ella Schonborn (left) and her friend, Sophia Pellett

To enter before the day, please phone the club at 011 646 5400 or email tracey@parviewgolf.co.za.

For images or further information please contact Theresa Gibbon on 082 820 8437 or theresa@theresagibbonpr.co.za

Distributed by Behind the Scenes Communications on behalf of Thresa Gibbon PR.

 

 

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