Move over Harry Potter! There’s a new wizard in town … a Guitar Wizard!
When Marcin Patrzalek was 10 years old, his father decided he needed to take up some sort of extra-curricular activity. He hadn’t shown much proficiency for sport up to that point, so when his dad bumped into an old friend one day in a tennis store, who just happened to be a guitar teacher, inspiration struck! Marcin could learn to play the guitar! Only one problem: this friend of his dad’s really didn’t like kids and refused to teach him! However, he did refer him to a fellow teacher, and the rest (as they say) is history.
Marcin tells me that he has always loved ‘sound’ – not actual music, but sounds themselves. When he was a child, he used to play with toys, as any child does, but he remained completely silent while doing so, all the time imagining in his head the sounds they were making. Apparently, adults found this somewhat disturbing!
So he initially took up classical guitar lessons, just for a starter course of 10 days. His teacher immediately recognised that here was someone, regardless of his young age, who possessed a gift. There was no doubt that after those initial 10 days were up, Marcin would continue learning to play the guitar and after just 3 months of lessons, he won his first competition.
Although he had no formal music schedule, it was evident that music came naturally to Marcin. He thoroughly enjoyed it, and it quickly became part of his daily routine. By the age of 12 he discovered Flamenco. He was fortunate to meet Professor Carlos Pinana when he visited Poland and attended his workshops after which Pinana proposed that he would continue to teach Marcin through Skype!
Marcin emphasises that both his teachers were extremely strict. He tells me that his Classical teacher, in particular, was very eccentric and an absolute perfectionist. I asked how he’d felt when Marcin started to branch out from the Classical style that he’d started with, experimenting with new and different styles of music. He tells me that initially his teacher was quite upset but that eventually he has come around to a grudging acceptance of the music Marcin plays now. The two remain exceptionally close, and Marcin tells me how important it is to stay close to your roots in order to know where you’ve come from.
When he was 14, Marcin played in the biggest music show in Poland – ‘Must Be The Music’. He selected a well-known piece called ‘Asturius’, however he had created his own experimental (and controversial) arrangement. And he won!
Well after that he became even more motivated – if that was even possible, because he came across as highly self-motivated before this! He didn’t have an acoustic guitar teacher so the Internet became the best teacher he had. He already had good knowledge of theory and sheet music, thanks to his excellent grounding from his Classical guitar teacher, and he started composing and arranging his own pieces.
In 2016 Marcin released his first album – ‘Hush’. If you want to know the story behind the name, you absolutely have to go to one of his shows. Info on his remaining SA shows is at the end of this post, so keep reading! (Pretoria and Cape Town – you’re in for a treat. If you haven’t booked tickets you’re going to kick yourselves! AND NOW – DUE TO PUBLIC DEMAND – AN EXTRA SHOW IN PRETORIA ON 8 MARCH AT 5.30pm!! )
In 2017 he released ‘Toxicity’ – it went out on Marcin’s Facebook page and went viral! Literally millions viewed it. Incidentally, to date, Marcin has amassed 80 million YouTube views! Yup, you read that right … EIGHTY MILLION!!
An endorsement from Ibanez, the 2nd largest guitar brand in the world soon followed, and the doors just kept opening: invitations to perform overseas started arriving, and the world beckoned! In December 2018 Marcin was invited to participate in ‘Italy’s Got Talent’ – all thanks to one of the producers seeing his video online, which resulted in this invitation. Initially, Marcin assumed he’d just be a guest performer on the show, but when he arrived he discovered he’d actually be competing! He played his arrangement of Beethoven’s 5th live, for the first time … and got a Golden Pass from his audition to the final! He went on to win the competition!
I need to emphasise here, that Marcin tells me all of this with the utmost of humility. He is a truly modest, extremely unpretentious young man who is mature way beyond his years. Again, you need to go to his show to witness the easy way he interacts with his audience – not brash, not over-confident – just easy-going and so, so likeable. He good-naturedly shrugs off my questions about how he feels about being described as a ‘prodigy’ and a ‘whizz-kid’. His response being that people can call it what they like, but he’s just going out there and doing what he loves.
All this is undoubtedly thanks to his grounded family life. He has an older brother of 25, and although there’s a bit of an age difference, he’s very involved and supportive in all that Marcin does. His parents travel with him, and he tells me that the credo he lives by is one that his father (who acts as his manager/agent) has given him: “Go out there and play the best you can. Don’t pay attention to what people say.” He firmly believes that you shouldn’t get caught up in all your hype, and he doesn’t think of himself in any different way, other than as just himself. In fact, he says, he doesn’t think of himself much at all – he thinks mainly of his music!
Marcin tells me that he’s lucky to go to one of the best schools in Poland and that they support him in every way, especially when it comes to all his travelling and spending time away from the classroom. He admits he’s a bit nervous about his final school exams that are coming up in May – the equivalent of our South African matric. “And then?” I want to know.
Marcin’s already been accepted to the Berkley College of Music in the USA. He’s deferred his entry to 2020 as he wants to concentrate of composing and arranging for the release of a new album and says that he wants to make the most of all the opportunities that are available to him now. He feels that he’s been spending 6-7 hours in school every day, and come May, he’s super-excited to be able to get so much more free time to play his music.
He wants to experiment with playing electronic music live with a guitar which has never been done before, and he is focused on “BREAKING THE MAINSTREAM” – maybe he’ll even play with an orchestra! He likes the sound of that idea. But he firmly believes that he, and all of us need to remain focussed on our goals and doing what we can to achieve them.
Marcin is thrilled to be in South Africa and has thoroughly enjoyed the response he’s received to his Joburg shows. He can’t wait to entertain Pretoria and Cape Town audiences and is especially excited about performing in an open-air amphitheatre! Make sure you’ve got your tickets!
GUITAR WIZARDS is a concept created by Corneille Hutten of the award-winning international, but proudly South African, Guitar Duo CH2 (the other half of the duo being Dirkie van Staden). They fuse various guitar styles from Flamenco to Finger-style Guitar playing – with great precision on acoustic guitars. This series of concerts promises to be an eclectic lab of creativity; saluting the sounds of Acoustic Guitar virtuosity.
CH2 has been top of the musical ladder for the past eighteen years in South Africa. Winning multiple SAMA and Ghoema Awards, they have produced 11 albums, including the best-selling and Grammy entry “PING” and their most recent offering “Insomnia – The Chapel Master.”
With their flawless, effortless technique and pulsating rhythms, they showcase what can be done on only two classical guitars, and create an exciting instrumental pop sound whilst mimicking drum sounds and bass guitar all at the same time. CH2 has truly developed their own style unique to the band and continues to blow people away with their virtuosity. The members of CH2 keep challenging themselves with new techniques every day and see themselves as pioneers of the classical guitar, pushing the instrument into genres it is not known for.
And now for the really important info … where can you see Marcin and CH2:
Date: Friday 8 March 2019
Time: 8pm AND NOW, DUE TO PUBLIC DEMAND AN EXTRA SHOW AT 5.30pm
Venue: Atterbury Teater
Date: Saturday 9 March 2019
Venue: Paul Cluver Amphitheatre, Elgin
Real Concerts, in association with M-Net and Hot 91.9FM are proud to announce that due to popular demand and extra Mango Groove 30th Anniversary Concert has been added at the Teatro, Montecasino on Saturday, 9 March, 2019.
In the words of Mango Groove’s lead vocalist, Claire Johnston:
“2019 is a big year for us as we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of our very first album, Mango Groove. With this in mind, it seemed right to us that we put on a high production concert that showcases the highlights, memories and moments of that album, as well as performing all the other Mango songs that people have come to know and love through years.”
The Mango Groove album went on to become one of SA’s biggest-selling albums of all time (well over 25-times platinum), and produced a string of hits that to this day remain part of the soundtrack of South Africa’s journey over the last three decades: ‘Special Star’, ‘Dance Some More’, ‘Hellfire’, ‘Move Up’, and many more.
That first album release created the platform for what was to become a meteoric rise to fame for Mango Groove, and it paved the way for a host of achievements that set new precedents and records that still stand today:
- The successive releases of several more albums and hit singles, including ‘Hometalk’, ‘Moments Away’, ‘Another Country’, ‘Nice to See You’, ‘Bang the Drum’ and their latest album release ‘Faces to the Sun’.
- Setting new live performance benchmarks for all SA artists, being the only SA group ever to sell out the Sun City Superbowl and the Standard Bank Arena six times each.
- The band was the first to redefine live staging and production standards for SA acts; the first to command a million rand sponsorship deal, and were the first and only group to remain at the top of the SA national sales charts for over a year.
- Internationally, Mango Groove’s unique and magical blend of South African marabi, kwela and pop influences, together with the voice and presence of Claire Johnston went on to captivate audiences around the world:
Highlights of their career include:
- The direct satellite link- up to the Freddie Mercury tribute in London (to an estimated audience of a billion people); their performance in front of 200 000 people at the Paris “SOS Racism” concert; and their performance at the renowned Montreux Jazz festival where the band received 3 encores.
- From London to Hong Kong, Toronto to Sydney, the band has played to sell- out crowds around the world.
- Mango Groove was given the honour of being the only South African (indeed African) act to be invited to perform at the ‘Celebrate Hong Kong ‘97’ Reunification Concert. This historic event, part of the official celebrations commemorating the handover of Hong Kong to China, was televised world-wide and immortalised on a commemorative CD. It was followed up, in fact, by Mango Groove being the only SA act to perform at the globally-televised concert commemorating the handover of Macau to China.
- Mango Groove was also especially proud to have been associated with the ABC world- wide broadcast of Nelson Mandela’s release where their music was used as the main theme. A few years later they headlined at his inauguration.
- Mango Groove has long been aware of music’s unique power to change people’s hearts and minds, and through the years the band has raised hundreds of thousands of Rands for issues such as literacy, terminally ill children and conservation.
In founder member John Leyden’s words:
“In terms of finding the ideal partner for what is truly a very special event for us, working with Real Concerts again made perfect sense…Serendipity at its best! It was this very partnership that properly launched Mango Groove on a grand scale to SA markets in 1989, and it was a partnership that then powered its way through the host of precedent-setting achievements in the years that followed.”
What can we expect from the show itself, then? In the words of Roddy Quin of Real Concerts:
“Yes, the show will be a veritable memory-fest, and it will truly be a joyful celebration of all the Mango songs we have come to love through the years: All of this backed up, of course, with the best possible live production, dancing and performance standards. As importantly, though, it will be a celebration of South African-ness in all its glorious diversity: who we were, our transition, the great ongoing South African journey, who we are today, and what is still so possible for us as a country. This show really will move you in so many different ways.”
Mike Page, GM of Montecasino, says, “Montecasino and the Teatro are thrilled to be hosting such a momentous concert, marking Mango Groove’s 30 amazing years of enchanting South Africans and indeed the world with their very special sound. Montecasino is all about delivering memorable experiences to every visitor – and this event will fit that bill perfectly. We look forward to welcoming the band and the heart-warming and joyful celebration of one of country’s favourite sounds.”
Mango Groove’s 30th Anniversary Concert, The Teatro, Montecasino, Johannesburg:
Friday 8th March – 8pm
Saturday 9th March – 8pm
Tickets Available from Computicket – Bookings now open!
The James Morrison SA concerts are just two weeks away and local promoter, Showtime Management is pleased to announce an extra concert on Thursday, 24 January 2019 at Montecasino’s Teatro. Tickets are on sale at Computicket. Adding local talent to the evening of soulful music is multi-cultural band, the “Stone Jets” who are touring with James Morrison as his supporting act for this singer-songwriter’s first-time performances in this country.
Brought to you by 5FM Legends the three-city concert tour begins at Montecasino’s Teatro with 8pm concerts on Tuesday, 22 January, Wednesday, 23 January and now Thursday, 24 January thereafter moving to Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch Garden for one concert only at 7pm on Saturday, 26 January 2019. Johannesburg concert tickets are on sale at Computicket and Cape Town tickets at Webtickets. With limited tickets still available, fans are encouraged to book soon to avoid disappointment.
Cape Town’s Stone Jets is the result of a musical partnership between bassist and vocalist Given Nkanyane and guitarist Manfred Klose. Five years on, the duo has become a trio with the addition of drummer Eduan Joubert. Known for their original sound Stone Jets create toe-tapping music, wrapped in soul and traditional elements.
Given and Manfred released their first EP “River” in 2014. The band’s second release, “What I Say” (released in 2016), was preceded with a lyric video for the first single off the EP, “Hurricane”, which critics described as a “lively, foot-tapping summer single”. Formed in 2013, songs from the trio’s first two EPs have been featured on national television and playlisted on commercial, campus, community radio stations across the country. They’ve played all of South Africa’s major festivals including Oppi Koppi as well as a host of venues such as the V&A Waterfront as they continue to grow their fan base wherever they share their sound.
“I’m looking forward to meeting the Stone Jets and to touring with these local lads. I am super excited to be playing my first gigs in a while in South Africa. I can’t wait to be on stage in Johannesburg and Cape Town, not long to go now!” says James Morrison who previously supported both Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder.
The 34-year-old singer-songwriter has sold 7 million copies of his four albums and performed five world tours. This year Morrison is releasing a brand-new album, recorded at British Grove and Metrophonic Studios and produced by Mark Taylor (Lady Gaga, Nelly Furtado, Kylie Minogue). The album sees the return of James Morrison to his soulful best.
Start counting down the days until James Morrison and the Stone Jets are on stage in Johannesburg and Cape Town brought to you by 5FM Legends. Tickets for the Montecasino concerts are available at Computicket service centres or by calling 083 915 8000 or on line at www.computicket.com. Tickets for the Cape Town concert are available from Webtickets. Computicket and Webtickets are the official ticketing partners for James Morrison, and tickets should ONLY be purchased from these ticketing agents. James Morrison – once heard, never forgotten.
Johannesburg: Montecasino’s Teatro
8pm – Tuesday, 22 January; Wednesday, 23 January; Thursday, 24 January 2019
Cape Town: Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
7pm – Saturday, 26 January 2019
Johannesburg: Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000,
visit www.computicket.com or visit your nearest Computicket service centre.
Cape Town only: Webtickets, www.webtickets.co.za
Johannesburg: R400, R500, R600, R700, R850 Cape Town: R650
MONTECASINO GROUP HOSPITALITY PACKAGES:
(20+ tickets) email@example.com or 011 367 4250
ONE DAY ONLY … ONE STAGE … ALL STAR CAST … SA’S TOP PERFORMERS … JONATHAN ROXMOUTH … TIMOTHY MOLOI … BRYAN SCHIMMEL … ILSE KLINK … and many more!
“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”
― Shannon L. Alder
The Sakellarides/ Devar family are an integral part of the theatre community. Theatre makers, supporters and the like are familiar with this talented unit, and those who have had the fortune of personally becoming a part of their lives, or even briefly interacting with them, all agree unanimously that this family are the warmest, kindest, most generous bunch of people, in an industry that is often extremely cruel.
Over the past few years, the family were faced with the misfortune of Nik Sakellarides falling very ill and ending up in intensive care on two lengthy, different occasions.
This was a very dark time for Brenda Sakellarides who managed to pull through, and with Nik’s strong recovery finally saw the light of day, despite the emotional and financial strain.
But just when life started normalising, another devastating bit of news came to the fore: their 16 year old son Ziya Devar was diagnosed with aggressive Ulcerative Colitis.
Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract. It affects the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. It can be debilitating, sometimes leading to life-threatening complications. While it has no known cure, treatment can greatly reduce signs and symptoms of the disease, even bringing about long-term remission.
About two and a half months ago, Nik took to Facebook, asking the Theatre/ Entertainment Community and beyond to please assist Brenda and the family with any donations they could contribute towards the increasingly exhorbitant medical costs for Ziya’s recovery.
This sparked Owen Lonzar’s idea to produce a show with some of the biggest names in the theatre industry, to raise money so that young Ziya and his family can fight this illness without worrying about the financial burden placed on them.
Lonzar explains: “There are genuinely very few good people in the world, who are always willing to help others. Brenda and Nik are always willing to help others. They are very special people, so I thought I need to do this. It’s also great because the community are involved. We don’t always have the money to give in this industry, so at least if these artists can perform, other people can buy tickets. It’s also important to be actively involved. We have a small community and we need to be able to look after each other, and this is one way that we can.”
Caitlin Clerk came on board to assist with administrative detail, and a wonderful night of music, musical theatre, talent and of course, community and giving has been organised to entertain audiences, but more importantly to raise money for Ziya’s recovery.
Silver Linings Songbook takes place on Sunday, 24 June 2018 at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square at 18h30. As this show sold out so quickly, an additional matinee has been added at 15h30!
Tickets cost just R200 each!
Never again and nowhere else will you get the opportunity to see such a fabulous lineup of South Africa’s top theatre talent performing on one stage, for a bargain price like this!
Can’t make it but still want to participate? Call the theatre on (011) 883-8606 and ask for a ‘ghost ticket’ … they’ll know what you’re talking about!
Bookings through computicket.com or call (011) 883-8606. If you can, try and go to to a Computicket kiosk and pay cash – they’ve been tremendously awesome and waivered their fee for the show if you do this!!!
Not only will you be helping others in need, but the line up of performers boasts some of the best talent in the country. This includes Jonathan Roxmouth, Timothy Moloi, Angela Killian, Sylvaine Strike, Ilse Klink, Bryan Schimmel (piano solo), Itu Sings, Kiruna – Lind Devar, Noni Mkhonto, Judy Ditchfield, Dolly Louw, Andrea Shine, Natasha van der Merwe, Caitlin Clerk, Nqobile Sipamla, Tonya Koenderman, Hayley Christian Francis, Luciano Zuppa, Dennis East, Claire Taylor and Toni Morkel.
Special Appearance from Kate Monster (aka Ashleigh Harvey) from Avenue Q, and Malcolm Terrey will be MCing the event.
A huge thank you to Daphne Kuhn for the use of the Auto & General Theatre on the Square, and to all the artists and crew involved in the giving of their time for such an important cause.
Book now for Silver Linings Songbook on Sunday, 24 June 2018 at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square.
Popular SAMA nominated performer, Tailor has announced the South African schedule for her upcoming #1000MilesTour.
Tailor gained popularity after collaborating with LIVE’s lead singer Ed Kowalczyk, and has also shared the stage with top SA acts such as Locnville, Goldfish, Matthew Mole and Nakhane Toure.
In 2017, Tailor was honoured to be invited to perform as part of Johnny Clegg’s Final Journey Tour in front of thousands of local SA fans, as well as at London’s iconic Hammersmith Apollo.
British fans have since celebrated Tailor’s outlandish stage performance in the infamous Bedford in Balham that made Ed Sheeran famous (Ed Sheeran!!!!!!!!), the celebrated Halfmoon in Putney where The Who, U2, and Rolling Stones played and The Troubadour where Bob Dylan performed in his first show in London.
Tailor has confirmed South African dates for an exclusive two weeks in her #1000MILESTOUR. Fans will be captivated by her enigmatic performance and music from her three acclaimed albums: The Dark Horse, Light and Trust Part 1 as well as new music she has created with world-renowned musicians and producers alike.
A fan once asked Tailor why she was so quiet before her performance, and the young Tailor replied: “To save my voice, so I can scream on stage!”
TAILOR #1000MilesTour Schedule
Friday 20th – Barnyard, Rivonia @ 8pm – tickets R150.00 from barnyardtheatre.co.za or 087 236 3088
Saturday 21st – The Music Box, Observatory @ 7pm – R450.00* includes drinks, dinner etc as per below – bookings firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 4789 555
*ALL YOU CAN DRINK, dinner (super tasty vegetarian), show, tea/coffee and cake, your donation is R450.00 per person
Monday 23rd – Barnyard, Silverstar @ 8pm – tickets R150.00 from barnyardtheatre.co.za or 010 593 0744
Tuesday 24th – Café Roux, Cape Town @ 8.30pm – tickets R150.00 from caferouxsessions.co.za
Thursday 26th – Café Roux, Noordhoek @ 8.30pm – tickets R150.00 from caferouxsessions.co.za
Sunday 29th – Cottage club, Fishhoek @ 5pm – tickets R150.00 from email@example.com or 021 782 0931
Wednesday 2nd – Barnyard, Cresta @ 8pm – tickets R150.00 from barnyardtheatre.co.za or 011 478 5300
Thursday 3rd – Die Blou Hond, Pretoria @ 8.30pm – tickets R190.00 or R390.00 from http://www.casatoscana.co.za/events-shows/events
R190 for show, incl. popcorn, pre-drinks, coffee & tea OR dinner option @ R390 pp
Saturday 5th – Radium Beer Hall, JHB @ 9pm – tickets R150.00 from Andy 083 542 1044 or
Details for TAILOR
The minute that invitation to the annual year-end pantomime hits your Inbox, your heart gives a little thump of joy … and not just because it signifies that the holidays are around the corner!
This is Janice Honeyman’s 30th pantomime, which is an achievement in itself. The fact that she continues to get it right, drawing in audiences, surprising and delighting the crowds every year, is a testament to her sheer talent and skill. She has a gift of knowing the perfect recipe to thrill her audiences, and Pinocchio, her offering this year is certainly no different. There’s just the right balance of innuendo, political lampooning and catchy tunes (both new and old) to hold the attention of all ages throughout the show. This combines with some truly eye-popping, phenomenal sets and an energetic cast who are all clearly fully immersed in the magical world they’re responsible for creating.
I’m positive that part of Janice’s ongoing ability to succeed at exciting her panto audiences year in and year out, is her own inclusive participation in the process. She’s not merely a writer and director who sits back and watches things happen statically as she’s penned it. When I interviewed some of the cast members during the rehearsal process, the common thread they all spoke about was Janice’s method of character development: allowing each actor to make the role their own and not merely something she’d put down on paper.
Returning to the age-old panto tradition of females taking on male lead roles, Pinocchio, the little wooden puppet who yearns to be a ‘real boy’, is played by Kanyi Nokwe who gives a stellar performance. Her endearing wonderment at the world around her/him is delightful, as is her excellent portrayal of a puppet, unable to move as fluidly as her human counterparts.
The much-loved Tobie Cronje returns to the panto stage as the bumbling Geppetto, who’s always longed for a son. He’s pursued by the hilarious Dame Arletti Spaghetti, played with uproarious aplomb by Grant Towers, in bright, brash, full-on technicolour! She happens to conveniently have a son available, the lazy Lampwick played with appropriate ‘too cool for school’ laid back, nonchalance by Ben Kgosimore. For some reason though, he’s not quite what Gepetto’s looking for in an offspring!
Mark Tatham bounces around the stage with boundless (actually, seemingly endless) vim and verve as a rather whimsical Jiminy Cricket, instructed by Bella Bouboulina, The Blues Fairy (you read that right – she’s a ‘Blues’ fairy with Southern flair) to be Pinocchio’s conscience. Ilse Klink, seasoned professional of SA stage and screen gives the role her own sprinkling of sparkling pizazz: she’s classy, funny, playful and just the right amount of bossy when she needs to be!
And panto always needs its villains doesn’t it? This year, we have André Schwartz as Il Fortunato the Fox who, although not quite as evil as his previous panto counterparts, is quite happy to ham it up as a foxy Phantom of the Opera – it’s inspired and the audience adored it! He’s accompanied by the brilliant Chi Mhende as Pussy Galore. Her claws are permanently out, and she’s wicked enough for the both of them!
The lighting and special effects are spectacular, all complemented by a tight, dynamic ensemble, complete with fresh-faced youngsters from Born to Perform (Stageworx School of Performing Arts).
Being panto, one does tend to slightly lose sight of the theme of the original story being told as it usually gets diluted in the inevitable tweaking of the plot. The actual background of Pinocchio is particularly pertinent to this time of year. It’s all about family values, listening to your conscience and doing the right thing despite all the pressure that’s thrown at you from all sides – and in this day and age it does seem that this happens literally from the day you’re born, as happens to Pinocchio, who candidly proclaims “I’m only one day old!” He still needs to muddle through the ups and downs of the challenges he’s faced with, as one does in life, learning who he can and can’t trust along the way, and having a whole bunch of entertaining and hair-raising adventures while doing so. And we, the audience, are lucky enough to join him on the journey.
Pinocchio, The Ultimate Pantomime Adventure is currently on the Mandela Stage of the Joburg Theatre until December 30th 2017.
To purchase tickets, visit www.joburgtheatre.com or call 0861 670 670. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Joburg Theatre box office or by booking and paying via the Nedbank app and at selected Pick n Pay stores.
HOP ON THE BUS TO FABULOUS!
From the minute the curtain goes up and the cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert launches into their enthusiastic, energetic opening number: It’s Raining Men – complete with 3 sparkly, shimmering Diva’s suspended above their heads – you know you’re in for a helluva ride! And that’s exactly what you get when you take your seat for this proudly South African production that takes you on the journey of a lifetime across the Australian outback.
In case you don’t know, this is the touching story of three drag queens who travel across Australia on a rather decrepit bus, which they fondly name Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. On their journey they discover the true meaning of friendship, love and unfortunately also meet up with the animosity that accompanies those who have no understanding of anyone or anything ‘different’. It’s a timeless tale of how strong bonds are formed, how hatred and derision continue to exist despite the advances that we think are being made, and how ultimately we all have the need to be accepted for who we are, regardless of our differences.
Daniel Buys is perfect in the role of Tick (Mitzi); delightfully up-beat, while seamlessly able to shift into a more restrained, reflective mood when his role requires it. And it’s certainly needed as he secretly has more than one reason to be schlepping around the
outback in a broken-down bus! He ropes in flighty Adam (Felicia) to join him on his mission, and Felicia has a goal of her very own. Apart from just wanting to have a good time, she’s always wanted to belt out a Kylie number on top of Ayers rock, because who doesn’t love the thought of ‘a cock in a frock on a rock’! Phillip Schnetler camps up the role with spot-on, screaming hilarity (and a touch of Jack from Will & Grace)! The trio is complete with dignified, slightly aging transsexual Bernadette who feels she’s possibly past her prime, but willing to go out with a bang (so to speak!). David Dennis plays the role with gracious grandeur, back-biting as wickedly as any self-respecting old queen would! And I just have to add here, out of these three, I just can’t decide who has the best pair of legs … they’re all to die for!!
Mentions must go to the all too fabulous, stupendously over-the-top Miss-Understanding, Tshepo Ncokoane; Candice van Litsenborgh who hams it up as the most hilarious mullet ever, complete with humungous boobs bouncing all over the stage (almost); Chantal Herman as a cheeky mail-order bride who’s sick and tired of being overlooked; and last but most definitely not least, veteran actor, James Borthwick who plays the simple, but simply adorable, big-hearted mechanic, who might just have more to him than meets the eye.
Ultimately though, producers Hazel Feldman and Tony Feldman of Showtime Management have put together a cracker of a team who have have masterfully overseen all the minutiae of this show, ensuring that they collaborate perfectly to make it the glitter and glitz extravaganza that it is. Director Anton Luitingh keeps things crisp, smart and snappy and technical director Alistair Kilbee oversees the constant ebb and flow of the pizazz that abounds throughout. Resident choreographer, Duane Alexander ensures (I have no clue how) that the 28-strong cast gets every step in synch, in heels nogal! Brian Schimmel, one of SA’s top music directors leads the 9-piece orchestra through numerous well-loved numbers (I Say a Little Prayer, Don’t Leave Me This Way, True Colours, I Will Survive … and many more) that will have audiences singing at the top of their lungs, not only during the show, but when they leave too!
And as for the costumes … the headdresses, the shoes … they’ll simply take your breath away! There’s so much colour, so much to look at … it’s a feast for the eyes and an extreme celebration of the imagination!
Best of all though is the utter enjoyment that shines from the face of each and every cast member. This is a show that begs for an audience, and has audiences begging for more
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is a must-see. It’s fabulous fun, thoroughly entertaining, and if you don’t walk out of that theatre with a huge smile on your face, then you lied and didn’t actually see the show!
It’s on at the Teatro, Montecasino until 18 June, 2017.
BOOKINGS: Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, or visit www.computicket.com
This musical contains some strong language and adult themes, therefore parental guidance is recommended for children under the age of 12