SA MUSIC ICON STEVE KEKANA LIVE IN CONCERT IN IPHUPHO THE DREAM

With Special Guests Joe Nina, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse and Ladysmith Black Mambazo

HOSTED BY IKUSASA (Ikusasa Arts Development Projects)

2 shows only : Saturday 29 April at 19h00 and Sunday 30 April at 13h00 on The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre

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This promises to be an unforgettable 2-hour show of pure nostalgia, with Kekana delivering all his hits from the start of his career back in 1978, to date.

Kekana lost his eye sight at the age of five, but has never let this stand in the way of fulfilling his dream. This concert aims to entertain and inspire those living with disabilities or who face challenges which may be regarded as stumbling blocks towards fulfilling their dreams.  This is the reason for show’s title: Iphupho the Dream.

Steve Kekana 3Kekana has over 20 albums to his credit and is one of the few artists who has managed to cross over varying genres, from Mbhaqanga, to Pop, Gospel and Soul. His decision to not confine himself to a single genre was frowned upon at the outset as it was believed that he would not be able to sustain a fan-base. But he proved his critics wrong and dispelled all myths about cross-genres, as to date he is amongst the most loved and respected local musicians of his time.

In the past, Kekana has also collaborated and featured on various songs with some of South Africa’s greatest musicians such as Joe Nina, PJ Powers, Soul Brothers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the late Nana Coyote. His unique and high range tone have always made him stand out from the crowd.

Born in 1958 in Zebediela, Limpopo, Kekana lost his sight at the tender age of five, and attended a school for the blind in Pietersburg. During his school years, he nurtured his love for singing, and was a member of amateur groups.

In 1979 and 1980, Kekana won what was then known as the “SABC Black Music Award” for Best Male Vocalist. Further awards followed, with the singer taking the “Top Male Vocalist” award on Radio Zulu, and being the runner-up on the Tswana and Sotho Radio Stations.

Since 2001, he frequently collaborated with fellow vocalist Nana Coyote, and his links Steve Kekana 1with a younger generation were solidified through his association with singer / producer Joe Nina, who produced his most recent album “African Lady”. Kekana, Coyote and Nina regularly appeared on stage together, and recorded under the name “The Trio”.

Kekana holds a B Juris and LLB degrees, and has written on Intellectual Property from the perspective of a songwriter.

ABOUT THE PRODUCER
Simphiwe Majozi, an actor on the SABC 1 telenovela Uzalo, will be hosting and producing this first ever tribute concert to Steve Kekana.

Majozi, who plays the role of a ruthless criminal known to many as Sbu on Uzalo is also a director of Ikusasa Arts Development Projects (“Ikusasa”). The organisation focuses on developing and uncovering new talent, whilst celebrating artistic legends and icons in the music industry. He believes that young and old in the entertainment industry can have a mutually beneficial relationship, learning and growing from each other.

Tickets are R150 and can be purchased at www.joburgtheatre.com, via Webtickets or by calling Joburg Theatre’s Box Office on 0861 670 670.

A DOUBLE DOSE OF FUN IN 1 WEEKEND!

The Full Morty : The Fringe @ Joburg Theatre – 8:00pm, Friday, 31 March 2017

AND

Live Jukebox : The Fringe @ Joburg Theatre – 8:00pm, Saturday, 1 April 2017

THE FULL MORTY and LIVE JUKEBOX have both previously enjoyed highly successful seasons, and Ginger Cube Productions have listened to audience demand are are bringing back this double dose of fun over one weekend, re-staging BOTH shows – for one night only – on Friday 31 March (The Full Morty) and Saturday 1 April (Live Jukebox) at The Fringe Theatre, Joburg Theatre. Both shows are at 8pm.

THE FULL MORTYThe Full Morty

Tickets : R120

Bookings at www.joburgtheatre.com / Webtickets / call 0861 670 670

Critically acclaimed actor, madly talented vocalist and professional k*k talker Mortimer Williams navigates that unchartered territory which fascinates us all (especially females)… the mind of the South African male.

It’s a mash-up of  stand-up comedy and cabaret in this hilarious show as Morty takes us through stories and songs while attempting to demonstrate just what it is that makes the SA male tick… with a few surprises along the way!

Morty is the perfect combination; a triple threat of talent, charisma and devilish naughtiness which all combines for a perfect evening of entertainment for guys and girls of all ages (as long as they’re over 16).

The Full Morty first opened  in April 2015 and has exploded onto the SA theatre scene, playing two successful seasons at the Joburg Theatre and two sell-out National Arts Festivals in Grahamstown (2015/2016).

Discounted tickets for groups of ten or more, scholars, students and pensioners are at R100 each and available only by calling Joburg Theatre directly on (011) 877 6853/6815.

Live JukeboxLIVE JUKEBOX

Tickets : R120

Bookings at www.joburgtheatre.com / Webtickets / call 0861 670 670

It’s the only live musical game show in the country! And it’s back for another kick-ass evening of musical mayhem!

Live Jukebox is the brainchild of Ginger Cube Productions. It made its debut at the 2016 National Arts Festival and has been performing to raucous crowds ever since.

Seasoned entertainer Mortimer Williams (of Skeem Saam fame) and theatre personality Kristy Suttner collaborate in this musical rollercoaster that gets audiences tapping their feet and bopping in the aisles.  They’re supported by a 4-piece live band, lead by musical genius Saranti Reeders.

So how does it work?

Remember the TV game shows Liriekeraai and Noot vir Noot?   What about Don’t Forget the Lyrics or Whose Line is it Anyway?

Live Jukebox is a musical gameshow where the audience calls the shots.  In the safe hands of the on-stage team, contestants are led through various games from music trivia to lipsync battles; guess the note and more, with the audience selecting the genre for each game, such as pop, rock, local and decades 60’s through 90’s.

Whether you’re into quietly tapping your foot to your favourite Parlotones classic or unleashing your inner Diva on stage with a Whitney Houston impersonation, Live Jukebox has something for everyone.

As that jukebox is played, the audience decides the content of the show and how their night will turn out, ensuring that no two shows are the same.

Book your seat for Joburg’s sensational musical comedy gameshow and experience a night out at the theatre that will leave you begging for more!

Discounted tickets for groups of ten or more, scholars, students and pensioners are at R100 each and available only by calling Joburg Theatre directly on (011) 877 6853/6815.

The duration of the show is 1 hour 30 minutes including an interval with no age restriction.

You can also purchase tickets to see BOTH shows for a R150 package deal.

Come on over to where it’s GREENer!

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It has been an incredibly wet week in Johannesburg due to the heavy rains and it looks like it won’t clear up by next weekend.

Due to the increased rain, the organisers of the The Annual Green Craft Beer Festival and Beer Pong Event, have decided to postpone the event to another weekend, to avoid any last minute cancellations and disappointments.

Dax Menday, the co-owner of The Green.Live explains, “Weather reports state that the rainfall will continue next week. Gilloolys Farm is already soaked to the ground and with threats of 3 inch rain next weekend, we would rather not risk cancelling the event at the last minute. We will be holding the event on another confirmed date, and in the meantime people will get refunds for any tickets purchased. As much as we love the rain, beer and rain don’t go too well together.”

Although this major event will be moved to another date, yet to be confirmed, The Green.Live have decided to hold a mini event at The Green at the Modderfontein Golf Course, at 1 Centenary Road, Modderfontein on the day, Saturday 4 March 2017 at 15h00.

There will be live music with Trevor Rebello, Justin Serrao and Bad Peter,  and the Craft Beer Breweries Darling and Stimela will also be on sale.

Tickets can be purchased at the venue on the day at R50 each.

All ticket winners for the Main Craft Beer Festival, are welcome to attend the event for free.

For refunds, people can email info@nutickets.co.za

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The Green – Modderfontein

It’s immediately obvious on meeting festival co-organiser Dax Menday, that he’s an incredible people person, someone who likes nothing better than to bring people together to enjoy a great time. He had a very clear vision of how he wanted to do this, and in 2015, he and his partner approached the Benoni Country Club and asked them if they could open a bar on their Rooftop. Hmmmm … not quite in keeping with the staid culture of country club living, but Dax was determined – young people were looking somewhere to go that provided a certain type of vibe that wasn’t yet being catered for in their area. The craft and artisanal types of eateries and pubs were starting to become popular,  and why should they have to travel for miles to find places that appealed to them? Benoni deserved its own! And in October of that year The Green was opened in a 20 meter adapted container on the rooftop of the Benoni Country Club overlooking the golf course (the green … get it??)! 7 meters of the container is the actual bar.

In December of 2016 Dax successfully opened a second bar, The Green Modderfontein. the-green-5Based on the same look and feel as his flagship store, and once again with magnificent views of the golf course, Dax has managed to reproduce the relaxed look and feel that he created in Benoni. With 12 Craft Beers on tap, and at least 40 other, mainly South African, bottled varieties on offer at any given time, he’s going out of his way to ensure that The Green is a Craft Bar offers something for everyone. His food truck style kitchens create a limited menu of fabulous, fresh fare for when you’re a bit peckish! Go and take a look at http://www.thegreen.co.za/food/ to see what’s on offer or visit the Facebook page

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When I actually took a look at all that was on offer I was completely bamboozled to say the least! So … for those of you who are about as knowledgeable as I was about the whole craft beer culture, here’s a brief nutshell description: Basically, it’s tailor-made, hand-crafted beer, made in different varieties, with a master brewer having a direct hand in its creation. It gained momentum in the States approximately 8-10 years ago. Anyone who has the

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Alcoholic iced tea!

know-how can get some investors in their corner, buy their equipment and start the magical creation process! The beauty of craft beer creation is that you can continue to refine your process all the time. There’s also an amazing variety of craft gins making a name for themselves, and interestingly, you can get alcoholic iced tea on tap too!

Dax patiently guided this very green craft beer novice through the ins and outs of what it takes to create this popular drink in all its variations! This included feeding me Craft Beer … at 10.15 in the morning! As he happily claimed “It’s after 10!” I learnt that there are different types of beers: Lager, Native or Red Ale, Pale Ale, which is more bitter, has more hops in it and has a fruitier taste, and finally Weiss Beer, which is wheat beer, even more bitter than the Pale Ale and usually unfiltered. I hope I got all of that right! (Any mistakes are my own, certainly not from Dax!)

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The 4 different varieties of Craft Beer – and I confess, I can’t remember which is which!! I’m obviously better at drinking the stuff than I am at learning about it!!!

The idea for The Green.LIVE Festival was to bring the festival spirit to the East, as so many of these festivals are being held in the North. Dax’s intention is to solidify the Craft Beer culture and introduce new people to it. It’s a daytime festival held between 10:00 and 18:00, with no 13 – 17 year-olds being allowed entry. There will be 7 food vendors each selling unique fare with no crossover at all, so there’ll be something for everyone. Craft Beer, Food, Music … what’s not to like?

And of course, there’s the attempt to break the world Beer Pong record! I’ll admit that mythe-green-7 nearest and dearest threatened to disown me when I admitted to not knowing what this was. (Shock! Horror! Hands were thrown into the air in disbelief!) Well, it’s a game played between 2 people, 5 cups, of approximately 120ml beer in each, arranged in triangular formation per person and a ping pong ball. Each person stands about 2.4 meters away from the table on which the cups are arranged and bounces the ball onto the table. The aim is to get the ball into your opponent’s cup, so that he has to drink from that cup. If you manage to throw the ball into the cups without a bounce, your opponent then has to drink from 2 cups! I can imagine that it’s loads of fun in a crowd and pretty addictive too!

This is all definitely going to be re-scheduled once we have a more positive weather outlook. So make sure you’ve ‘liked’ the Facebook page so you know when it’s all happening.

In the meantime, take a look at this fabulous video of last year’s festival to see what it’s all about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtPDbL_tlKA&t=3s

Thank you Dax for inviting me to your beautiful bar and for taking the time to share all of your abundant knowledge so enthusiastically!

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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ROBIN HOOD AND THE BABES IN THE WOOD

robin-hood-1A BRAND NEW PANTOMIME ADVENTURE

FROM JANICE HONEYMAN

 Riding through the royal forest of Sherwood on a glorious May morning, you don’t have a care in the world.  Then you hear a bird call, the faint rustling of trees, and suddenly a man armed with a longbow appears in your path.  He wears a feathered cap, or is that a hood?  You can’t see the man’s face clearly, but you don’t have to.  He is dressed in Lincoln green, the colour of Robin Hood – the most famous English outlaw of all time.

The earliest surviving Robin Hood ballad, Robin Hood and The Monk, dates from the 15th Century.  Subsequently, the legend has become one of the most popular movie and TV stories of all time: from Robin Hood and His Merry Men, a 1908 silent film; to British television’s long-running series The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-59); to 1973’s Walt Disney’s Robin Hood; to Mel Brooks’ hilarious Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993); and to the 2010 movie Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe.

And now comes Janice Honeyman’s brand new pantomime adventure, Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, on the stage of The Mandela at Joburg Theatre from November 5th to December 30th 2016.  

The plot combines the babes-lost-in-the-forest story with the Robin Hood legend.  The young children, Hansel and Gretel, come to visit their uncle, the Sheriff of Nottingham, little suspecting that he is plotting their demise.  But never fear, help is at hand – in the shape of Robin and his Merry Men, plus Maid Marian and the Spirit of the Forest!

Playing the role of Robin in his first Joburg Theatre pantomime is Izak Davel, best known to TV viewers as Isidingo’s arrogant Bradley Haines, and whose hit recordings include Verlei MyIs Jy In Of Is Jy Uit and Vreesloos.

Much loved panto star Desmond Dube returns to Joburg Theatre to play the jovial Friar Tuck, Idols finalist Bongi Mthombeni features in his fifth Joburg Theatre pantomime as the dandy Will Scarlet and leading lady of South African musical theatre, Kate Normington, will surely be wildly comic as Silly Sylviana, the Spirit of the Forest!

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Also featured in Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood are Graham Hopkins as the villainous Norman the Nasty, Sheriff of Nottingham, L J Urbani as the ever-popular panto Dame Emmarentia Ugly, Phumi Mncayi as chief lieutenant of the Merry Men, Little John, award-winning actress Candida Mosoma as Much the Miller’s Son (written with an inevitable panto twist!), beautiful Carmen Pretorius as Robin’s love interest, Maid Marian, and Jaco Van Rensburg as the wandering minstrel, Alan-a-Dale.

Joining them in the all-South-African cast are, in alphabetical order, TeeKay Baloyi, Darius Engelbrecht, Clive Gilson, Nuritt Graff, Kyra Green, Dirk Joubert, Dolly Louw, Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri, Tsepho Ncokoane, Noni Nkonto, Dale Scheepers, Natasha Van Der Merwe and Maryanne Van Eyssen.

“It’s an exciting year for us when Janice Honeyman writes a brand new pantomime script,” says Bernard Jay, Executive Producer of the panto. “We don’t know exactly what to expect until the last minute, but we do know it will be full of her magical flair for story-telling, spectacular special effects, zany comedy and outrageous double entendres!”

Writer / director Janice Honeyman collaborates with producer Bernard Jay on their sixteenth Joburg Theatre pantomime together.  Rowan Bakker joins the team this year as musical director; Nicol Sheraton returns as choreographer; the eagerly anticipated, over-the-top, fabulous sets and costumes are once again supplied by Qdos in the UK; the lighting design is by Graham McLusky; sound design by Trevor Peters; and Timothy Le Roux is the resident director.  As with many past successful pantomime productions at Joburg Theatre, Claire Pacariz and Simon James serve as associate producers.

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood has preview performances on The Mandela stage at Joburg Theatre on November 5th and 6th with tickets from R170.  Its official Opening Night is scheduled for Sunday November 6th and the season continues until December 30th, with tickets priced from R220.

Over 30,000 tickets have already been sold for this year’s panto, so best to hurry and get yours now for South Africa’s most popular family entertainment tradition.  Tickets are available by visiting www.joburgtheatre.com or calling 0861 670 670, as well as through Webtickets and at Pick ‘n’ Pay stores. For group bookings of 10 or more, contact the theatre directly on 011 877 6853/6815.

For details of the full schedule and performance times, visit www.joburgtheatre.com

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

 

A Fever You’ll Want to Catch!

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

saturday-night-fever

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]

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