Comedy

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

Pieter Toerien presents the FUNNIEST COMEDY EVER on stage!

The play follows a theatre troupe as they struggle to get through a run of their murder mystery without succumbing to the disasters surrounding them: falling set pieces, sticking doors, missed cues, anything covered under Murphy’s Law!

The Play That Goes Wrong

Photo credit: Christiaan Kotze

Pieter Toerien says: “The PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is the FUNNIEST play I have EVER seen!”

Joanna Lumley after seeing a recent London performance said: “We laughed until the tears ran down our faces! It has to be seen!!!”

WHAT’S ON STAGE said “It’s as though The Mousetrap has been taken over by Monty Python!”

Described by theatre audiences as Fawlty Towers meets Noises Off – this new hit comedy has won every major award on the London stage – 2015 Olivier Award Winner for Best New Comedy/ 2015 BroadwayWorld UK Winner for Best New Play/ 2014 WhatsOnStage Award Winner for Best New Comedy! The South African production is by Alan Committie and features a fabulous comedy cast which includes ROBERT FRIDJHON, RUSSEL SAVADIER, THEO LANDEY, CRAIG JACKSON, ROBERTO POMBO, NICOLE FRANCO, LOUIS VILJOEN and SIVE GUBANGXA.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG celebrates the best of live theatre… and the worst:

The Northriding Polytechnic Drama Society is putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does! The accident-prone thespians battle against all odds to make it through to their final curtain call, with hilarious consequences!

Given 5 stars from The Daily Mail, called a ‘Gut-busting hit’ by the New York Times and with celebrity endorsements from the likes of Ant and Dec ‘funniest show we’ve seen! If you can get a ticket go.’

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is guaranteed to leave you aching with laughter!

RUNNING TIME: 2 hrs 5 mins (including a 20 min interval)

Recommended Age: 8+

South African audiences will be treated to the award-winning Comedy from 24 March in Jo’Burg and 3 May in Cape Town.

Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre: 24 March – 30 April

Performances: Wed – Fri @ 8pm, Sat @ 5pm & 8pm, Sun @ 3pm

Tickets: R220, R180, R130 & R100

Theatre on the Bay: 3 May – 17 June

Performances: Tue – Fri @ 8pm, Sat @ 4pm & 8pm

Tickets: R220, R180 & R120

 

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CROSS-CULTURE DIVERSITY: AS WIDE OR AS NARROW AS YOU MAKE IT

From KtoK 3How likely is it that a Brownish girl from the Cape Flats (her words), would meet and fall in love with a boy from the close-knit Northern suburbs Jewish community of Johannesburg … while she’s in Turkey, nogal! … and then marry him? Pretty likely actually, because that’s what happened to Chantal Stanfield, and if you head on down to the Auto & General Theatre on the Square in Sandton she’ll tell you all about it in her 1-woman play, ‘From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach’.

With refreshing, boundless energy, Chantal endears herself to her audience as she regales them with her entertaining description of those first star-crossed Tweets exchanged between Turkey and South Africa. And as the time draws closer towards her homecoming, she bravely wonders what on earth she’s gotten herself into.

And with that same zesty enthusiasm, she delights with her description of her introduction to Shabbos dinners, Jewish gastronomy, long-standing family disagreements (I’ll leave it to her to describe those to you), the circumcision ceremony (or ‘bris’), meeting her first Rabbi, and of course, what one wears to all of these occasions when you haven’t grown up ‘just knowing’.

Throughout this narrative, we hear the ongoing advice she assumes she’d receive from her mom (“JJJyyyyy!!!!”) and her CGBF – Coloured Gay Best Friend – and I’m not even going to try and translate that advice!From KtoK 4

Director Megan Furniss has kept things tight with virtually no props to clutter things up, just a comfy lounger, and a bleached wooden chair and table, all moved around by Chantal herself, as she jives along happily to an upbeat, buoyant  soundtrack.

There is a brief, serious moment when the ugly head of racism is reared, because there are always going to be those who, for whatever reason, can’t share in the happiness of others, or are just insidiously ignorant … or who just like to blatantly gossip! But for the most part things are kept on the light side.

Will you understand it if you’re not from either the Jewish or Coloured communities. You might miss some of the innuendo; you might not fully ‘get’ some of the ‘lingo’ but ultimately this is actually a love story that will make you feel quite warm and fuzzy, and that’s something you’ll relate to, no matter where you come from!

Hopefully it will also make people a little more open to having conversations about diversity, difference, ‘otherness’, tolerance and acceptance.

From KtoK 2Koe’siestes: Soft, sticky Cape Malay doughnuts, lightly spiced with aniseed and cinnamon, dipped in syrup and covered with desiccated coconut.

Kneidlach: Jewish soup dumplings made of matzah meal, eggs, water and fat, traditionally served in chicken soup and a staple on Passover. Also known as matzah balls.

Co-produced by Daphne Kuhn and Kizara Kreative.

“From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach” runs from 28th February to 18th March, 2017 at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square, Sandton, with performances from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm and extra Saturday show at 6pm. Tickets are R140 and can be booked by calling the theatre on 011 883 8606, theatreonthesquare@gmail.com or through computicket.com. Enquire about dinner-show specials and group discounts directly with the theatre on 011 883 8606.

ANDRE THE HILARIOUS HYPNOTIST – BACK AT MONTECASINO UNTIL 19 MARCH!

 

 

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ANDRE THE HILARIOUS HYPNOTIST is back in town at The Studio Theatre at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre until 19 March, wreaking all sorts of havoc with unsuspecting (although willing) members of the public.

His easy-going, friendly personality and unprepossessing stage presence do not at first inspire you to believe that this man might have incredible powers of persuasion; the sort of influence that could convince someone that they are a cannibal and can speak only in cannibalise or make someone else completely forget their names or believe a visible person is invisible.

andre-hypnotist-2However, five minutes later once he has a group of volunteers on stage who instantly nod off into a somnambulant state whenever he says the word “Sleep”, you realise that this man really knows something about the art of hypnosis. And, when you’re convinced that at least one of his volunteers must be a set-up, Andre performs a pretty nifty test on the hapless hypnotees that makes you think otherwise.

ANDRE THE HILARIOUS HYPNOTIST doesn’t try to fool the audience into thinking he’s a special being with magical powers. He explains everything as he goes along and within minutes he has the entire audience in stitches of laughter as he creates his own form of hypnotic humour.

For close on two hours, Andre gives you a hilarious demonstration of just how easy it is to confuse the brain, at the same time his volunteers become the stars of the show without even knowing it. andre-hypnotist-3

This show is great fun and suitable for all ages.

ANDRE THE HILARIOUS HYPNOTIST is now showing at the Studio Theatre at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from Wednesdays – Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 5pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. The season runs until 19 March. Tickets are just R120 and bookings are at Computicket.

PANTO ENCHANTS AND ENTERTAINS

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Once again, it’s panto season, which means Christmas and the silly season are upon us … the most wonderful time of the year! And for the 29th time, Janice Honeyman presents us with her year-end pantomime. This year, it’s a brand new offering … Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood. Partnering once again with producer Bernard Jay, this is a bit of a mash-up of stories, all merged together to create an absolutely delightful couple of hours where audiences can immerse themselves in sheer fantasy and fun!

Izak Davel (currently playing hunky Bradley Haines on our small screens in Isidingo) makes his panto debut as the well-meaning Robin Hood. He hangs out in the forest with his band of Merry Men (they’re ‘butch’!), and doesn’t seem to realise that pretty Maid Marian, played by the beautiful Carmen Pretorius (also Bradley’s love interest, Tiffany in Isidingo) is trying to catch his eye. She’s not too phased though, she’s far from a damsel in distress, until the evil Sheriff of Rottingham, errrm, sorry, Nottingham, decides to claim her as his latest conquest! Gasp! Renowned stage and screen actor, Graham Hopkins throws himself into the role with gusto … and hilarious results.

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Graham Hopkins is Norman the Nasty, Sheriff of Nottingham

Meanwhile the Sheriff’s evil sister-in-law, played with true panto elegance and style by LJ Urbani, is plotting to do away with her down-trodden husband’s two kids, Tokkel and Tina (actually Hansel and Gretel, but this is Mzansi you know!). And while Robin Hood and crew are foraging the forest looking for people to rob (only rich people, so they can give to the poor, you understand, and no weapons allowed), they come across Much the Miller’s son, enthusiastically portrayed by Candida Mosoma, who so impresses the butch boys with his ability to defend himself (and his donkey) that they invite him to join their merry little band.

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LJ Urbani is Dame Emmarentia the Ugly!

Keeping the storyline together is the marvellous Kate Normington as Silly Sylviana, the Spirit of the Forest. Amusing, clumsy, kind, caring and just a little bit bossy when she needs to be, Sylviana lets us know what’s what, who’s who, and pretty much makes sure that everything in her Forest is running according to plan. If that plan fails, she has a firm Plan B as part of a girl band with Pretorius and Mosoma – they’re a helluva of a team, and boy, can they belt out a tune!

This panto doesn’t let up for a minute, moving along at a cracking pace. It’s vibrant, it’s glitzy, it’s dynamic and it’s 100% on trend politically and musically, with a nod being given to most of the current fads doing the rounds – as one has come to expect. Honeyman and Jay once again prove they’re a formidable team and watching their cast being put through their paces only goes to show that they don’t make their choices lightly. Davel has all that’s required of a panto leading man: his almost effortless delivery, paired with a slightly quirky, comical manner, not to mention the voice and the moves to go with it all ensure he’ll be a hit as Robin. Desmond Dube, Phumi Mncayi and Bongi Mthombeni are all pure gold in their roles, elevating the level of humour here to something of an entirely superior nature.

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The ensemble of this production is a troupe of seasoned performers, and it shows. They’re polished and peppy; smart and sassy. The energy flows easily, and one can’t help but get caught up in the rhythm of it all.

Mention must be made of Musical Director, Rowan Bakker – you’ll notice (because of course, you’re going to see the show) that there are a lot more musical numbers in this panto than in previous ones. So it goes without saying that the musical director had a hand in all the extra arrangements, and is a lot busier than he’d usually be! He’s done a sterling job. The band’s contribution to the superb nature of this show is unquestionable.

I also need to comment on the incredible sets and the absolutely magical use of lighting. The sets themselves are spectacular, but Graham McLusky has created pure enchantment in some of the scenes, which transport the audience into a true fairy-tale land. It’s quite captivating.

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We call it magic!

I highly recommend this year’s Pantomime. It’s first-rate entertainment and escapism. Book your tickets, go along and just lose yourself in it for a little while. That’s what it’s all about. They don’t call it magic for nothing!

Book through the Joburg Theatre on 0861 670 670 or via www.webtickets.co.za

PLEASE NOTE: All photo’s were taken during a rehearsal, and not during an actual performance. Please always be considerate to the cast and your fellow theatre-goers. DO NOT take photo’s, recordings or video’s during the show.

Meet the Men who Bring the Magic …

GETTING TO KNOW SOME OF THE CAST OF ROBIN HOOD AND THE BABES IN THE WOOD

Theatre is many things to many people: smoke and mirrors to some, a means of political and social rhetoric or commentary to others. But there’s no doubt that when it comes to Pantomime, it’s pure magic! There can be no doubt as to the intention of pantomime … it’s there to entertain the audience, whether young or old, and it needs to cater to a wide spectrum of fans. This is the 29th time that Janice Honeyman will be doing just that. She’s the unrivalled master at writing scripts that delight all who see her shows, incorporating just the right balance of slightly risqué fun for the adults, and good-natured humour for the kids. Together with Bernard Jay, this team has a sure-fire approach that ticks all the boxes for the ultimate in excellent entertainment.

And part of that approach is ensuring they have the right people for the job! This year’s pantomime is the all-new Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, a mash-up of the old Robin Hood tale (he stole from the rich to give to the poor … I’m sure our brains are all in overdrive as to how this is being applied to current SA news stats!), and the story of Hansel and Gretel coming to visit the evil witch … errrrm, their not-so-nice uncle, the Sheriff of Nottingham. And who better to play the dashing, daring, darling Robin Hood than Izak Davel, currently better known as arrogant Bradley Haines in Isidingo? Every hero needs a sidekick, and in this case there’s a group of merry men led by the jolly Little John – Phumi Mncayi.

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l-r: Phumi, Desmond, Izak

I was interested to get to know the people behind the magic a little better, so I recently met with Izak and Phumi to find out who these guys really are, and what special sparkle they have that makes them perfect for their roles. I got a bit more than I bargained for as some extra laughs were thrown in by Desmond Dube (Friar Tuck), who was keen to join the action. I can honestly say I don’t remember the last time I spent such an enjoyable hour in the company of such down-to-earth authentic guys, who genuinely love what they do!

Izak tells me that he’s “just a laatjie who grew up in a dorpie in the Eastern Cape who just wants to enjoy life.” He’s happiest when he’s spending time with his wife, or walking his dogs. I’m openly incredulous, and beg him to tell me how on earth he landed up in the acting industry! Well, he initially wanted to be a rugby player, but due to damaged knees he took up ballet as a means to strengthen them. Realising his dreams of rugby-playing fame and fortune had been thwarted, he was thinking of becoming a physiotherapist or a biokineticist – you know, down to earth stuff! But he then went on to study musical theatre at TUT, and the universe, as they say, obviously had different plans for him!

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Izak in his Robin Hood regalia! Photo Credit: Mariola Bela

His first theatre role was in 2004, in a Pieter Toerien production of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’. He’s already recorded one studio album, and will be back in-studio in January to begin recording his second, signed under SNP (Snyman Musiek Produksies). He strongly believes that in the industry, at this point in time, you most definitely need to be a triple threat (i.e. you need to be able to sing, dance and act – usually all at once!), in addition to having some other sort of business interest on the back-burner to sustain you financially. He’s level-headed and under no illusions of glitz and glamour!

It’s inevitable that we chat about his role in Isidingo, which he hopes to continue into next year, and his participation in one of our local seasons of Celebrity Survivor where he became (in)famous for wearing nothing but a red speedo most of the time! I ask if it was a publicity stunt and he tells me it wasn’t. It all came about purely because he was being the perfect gentleman. Cindy Nel needed a pair of shorts so he gallantly gave her his! He jokes that his mom always taught him to have manners!

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Of course we chat about his participation in ‘Robin Hood’. It’s his first panto role and he’s thoroughly enjoying it, anticipating the interaction that the cast gets from an excited audience, especially the school-kids, many of whom have never seen live theatre before.

Phumi joins us, at which point Desmond chirps loudly from the table next to us that he’s most upset that I’m only chatting with the ‘pretty boys’! I tell him they may be pretty but he’s beautiful! Much laughter ensues before we continue. He’s actually busy with his own separate interview! I promise there’s no favouritism here!

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Yes! Izak is a photo-bomber!! 🙂

Having been part of the cast of Bernard Jay’s recent production of Saturday Night Fever, already having been cast in Jay’s 2017 production of The Color Purple, and having worked with many of the current cast before, Phumi feels very strongly about the loyalty that exists between directors, producers, and their cast members. “The people make the show,” he says. “The synergy between them is what makes it all come together. Without that, there’s nothing.”

Once again, as with Izak, I’m humbled by the complete lack of affectation this man has by the industry he works in. He’s an outgoing, fun family man who proudly tells me that his wife and small son are his prized possessions and motivators, his entire reason and purpose for being. He sums it up by saying “You can lose yourself in the illusion of what you do. People need to ground you.”

For a final laugh, I ask them both which Superhero they’d be, given the chance. Actually I don’t get the chance to ask Izak because he’s guessed the question before I’m even halfway through asking it and immediately assures me that he would be Wolverine! When asked why, he replies, “because he’s tough, funny, strong and he protects.” Clearly 4 traits he associates himself with!

Phumi, on the other hand thinks for a couple of minutes, and then tells me he’d like to be Ant Man!! After I’ve finished falling over myself laughing, I pull myself together enough to reply that I’ve never heard of him. They’re both amazed! (No, really!) Unsurprisingly (I suppose, after that reaction!), I then got an in-depth tutorial on Ant Man: who he is, what he does. Ant Man views the world from the bottom up, and that’s something Phumi would like to do!

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Phumi & Izak

As for what they would consider to be their ‘theme songs’. No surprises when Phumi decides on ‘People who need People’, and Izak takes ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’.

And finally it’s time to send them back to rehearsals, knowing undoubtedly that this year’s pantomime is going to be one whole bundle of fun if they have anything to do with it! And with all that laughter, it’s going to weave that magical spell as it always does, bringing delight and enjoyment to all who see it.

Make sure you’ve got your tickets booked. Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood opens this week at the Joburg Theatre and the fun continues until 30 December. Book through the Theatre at www.joburgtheatre.co.za or 0861 670 670, or you can book at Pick n Pay Stores and WebTickets.

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#HASHTAG He’s a Really Nice Guy!

Hashtag Lottering

It’s a typically busy Wednesday morning at Starbucks in Rosebank when Marc and I meet. One of the waiter’s admires Marc’s lumo green takkies as we make our way to a table, and I notice he’s drawing more than one or two surreptitious glances from a few other customers. He’s casually nonchalant as we sit down and begin our chat.

I ask Marc when he first realised he was funny. He tells me that he never really did! He’s never liked conflict, or people arguing, and turns to humour to diffuse these types of situations when they arise. He prefers to be around relaxed people and he genuinely enjoys making people laugh.

Marc grew up in Retreat, in the Cape Flats. His father was a pastor, and the clear understanding was that when you left school, you went to university to study towards a secure career. His mom actually wanted him to follow his father and become a churchman! So, being the respectful son that he was, Marc went and studied Law! I swear, I nearly fell off my chair when I heard this – but then we got into a discussion about those TV shows that we watched at the time: LA Law, Ally McBeal and the like (actually that whole Monday night vibe … Dynasty, Magnum … big shoulders … but I digress) You know, those shows made the legal profession just so sexy and appealing! But I don’t think that’s quite what our parents had in mind!

So I was trying to fathom how a Law degree turned into becoming one of the top 10, most loved comedians in South Africa. By the time he reached 4th year Law, Marc had achieved his BA degree and was working as an usher at the Baxter Theatre – a Cape Town institution. He was watching iconic actors like Pieter Dirk Uys and was riveted by the unapologetic honesty of the shows he was watching; shows about everyday life that really touched him. Satire was huge at the time, and this thoroughly appealed to him. And here’s where one of those serendipitous life events occurs: round about this time the owner of an advertising agency suggested that Marc should come in for a job interview, which he did. He started the next day, gave up studying towards that Law degree and started to carve a creative niche for himself.

At the ad agency, Marc was doing loads of copywriting. Creativity was encouraged, and he started to find that no matter what he said, people laughed – even when he wasn’t trying to be funny! This was to be his home for 6 years.

By the time his 30th birthday rolled around, Marc was renting an apartment from award-winning author and journalist, Marianne Thamm. Clearly she spotted his potential and encouraged him to share his unique story-telling prowess, seeing his knack for drawing people in and for making them laugh. For his 30th birthday, Marc booked a small venue, an upstairs room at The Coffee Lounge, filled it with some friends, arrived with a ‘doek’ in his pocket, which he promptly put on his head at some stage of his performance, and introduced his audience to ‘Aunty Merle’, a typical Athlone housewife (who became one of his well-known cast of characters, which included Colleen the cashier and Travis the coolest club-hopper that ever lived). His audience lapped it up, roaring with total hilarity. So much so, that the owner of the venue came up to see what all the noise was about.

By the end of that evening, Marc had been booked to appear at the venue for another two weeks. Unsurprisingly, word spread like wildfire, and the place was full every single night. He was thoroughly enjoying what he thought was a brief dabble with stand-up comedy until journalists started showing up, rave reviews started pouring in, and the rest, as they say, is history!Janice & Marc

I found Marc completely unaffected by his status – he had no problem being approached by people wanting to chat and take selfies with him, including one who excitedly claimed “I have a friend who always gets to meet famous people, and now I can show her I met someone famous too!”

But if you think that was where the interview ended … well, no!! Did you honestly think I was going to interview a comedian, and just chat about mundane stuff like life, TV and what colour takkies they’re wearing??!!

Here’s the fun stuff …

(In case you’re wondering – GT is me “Glitter & Toast”, I’ll let you guess who ML is!)

GT:         You can choose 1 song that will play whenever you enter a room, for the rest of your life – kind of like your theme song. What’s your song?

ML:        Barry White – My first, my last, my everything  (see – there’s that Ally McBeal Barry Whiteinfluence!)  (GT: and might I add, Marc replied to this without any hesitation whatsoever!!)

GT:         What would be the title of the story of your life and who would write it?

ML:        “Happy” I’d write it myself, or I’d get someone who I really, really trust to write it – like Marianne Thamm!

GT:         Who would play you in the movie of your life

ML:        I’d love it if Charlize would make the time hey?!!

 

Joker Heath Ledger

Jirra!!! He was creepy!!!

GT:         Which superhero would you be?

ML:        More like the anti-hero! I really like Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker – there’s just something about that, you know?

GT:         So what is your superpower?

ML:        “To make people laugh, no matter how crap things are at home.” (That’s a direct quote from Marc!)

GT:         Where would you travel to in a time machine?

ML:        Hmmmm, I’ve never actually thought about that.  But I’d like to spend a couple of weeks on a space ship! And talking about travel,  I love Zanzibar – it’s the ideal holiday destination. You do absolutely nothing. It’s completely laid back; the type of place where you read all of those books you’ve been putting off!

GT:         Which 5 people (living or dead) would you like to have with you on your fantasy island?

ML:        Whitney Houston – because I know all the words to every single one of her songs – but I wouldn’t sing along with her! (GT – Marc actually has a lovely voice and sings really well.)

Carol Burnett – because she’s so funny and will make everyone laugh

A Buddhist type of person (!!!!) (GT – we couldn’t think of a famous Buddhist type person!)

Chef Reuben Riffel

Oprah Winfrey – with daily pearls of wisdom!

Marc’s latest show #Hashtag Lottering is currently on at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square in Sandton, until 17 September. It’s a hilarious take on how social media has skewered our view on reality. Go and have a laugh and (as Marc says) forget how crap life is for a while!! GO AND SEE IT!

Tickets can be booked through the theatre (011 883 8606) or via Strictly Tickets.

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