Nik Rabinowitz at the Goliath Comedy club -26th August

I have wanted to catch a live comedy act show at The Goliath Comedy Club in Melrose Arch for ages now. But as it happens, life has seemed to always get in the way. You know the usual… however this week I needed a great night out after a long hard week and I caught an advert on Facebook for Nik’s one-man show ‘Forty fied’ which he was performing in this past weekend. Having seen Nik perform before, I knew that his comedy would be top notch and I was really excited to try something new rather than the usual dinner and a movie.

I have been a fan of Roast Café for a while now. I love their coffee, their drinks and the vibe there. It feels almost retro but completely cosmopolitan at the same time which I love. I have also heard time and time again that their baking is some of the best around town. (so if you ever try it, let me know if it stands up to the talk!) The combination of the awesome café with some live comedy is defiantly a combination I want to take advantage of.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Roast Café and Goliath Comedy club combo, it goes as follows. During the day the café is open for anyone to pop past for a great cup of coffee, a slice of cake or some delicious eats. Then on Friday and Saturday nights, the back of the restaurant gets transformed into a vibey comedy club. The club is owned by the famously hilariously Goliath Family and if you are lucky you get to witness one of the Goliath brothers share their talents on stage. If you are hungry you can enjoy dinner with your comedy or simply indulge in a few delicious cocktails while you laugh yourself a six pack.

Last night the show consisted of Nic Goliath as MC and a brilliant opening act by an up and coming female comedian. She was so funny. And it was so great to see some female energy up on stage. For the main act, Nik was on point last night! He was absolutely hilarious. The point that impressed me the most, however, was the way he read the room. Nik being as openly Jewish as we know him to be recognized that majority of his audience was bound to be Jewish. He made the most of this throwing the lingo, the phrases and the stories out there so that every ‘Yid’ in the room was in stitches. It was fantastic. He spoke for over an hour and I promise you that it was just as good as running at the gym.

I was so impressed by the café’s efficiency at providing all the show goers with such great service and an overall wonderful experience. It was one of my favorite nights out this year and hopefully, I will be visiting the comedy club and the café many more times in the coming future.

For more information about the comedy club and to book your next visit you can visit their website:  www.goliathcomedyclub.com

*Lights out*

Natalia

xxx

 

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Priscilla Queen of the Desert- South Africa

Hi everyone, Priscilla Queen of the

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, queen of glitter, queen of fabulous, queen of the STAGE!

OH MY GOSH, this production (currently showing at Montecasino until the 18th of June) is absolutely fantastic, to say the least! For years I have heard about this musical. SO many people have asked me in shocked tones “why have I not seen Priscilla?” I have been told from left, right and centre that Priscilla is something I just have to witness… Well, in true musical fascination fashion, when I heard this show was being done in South Africa I jumped at the opportunity to quickly book my ticket and secure my place to see this extravaganza. I was not prepared for exactly how fabulous this show actually is!

Well, in true musical fascination fashion, when I heard this show was being done in South Africa I jumped at the opportunity to quickly book my ticket and secure my place to see this extravaganza. I was not prepared for exactly how fabulous this show actually is!

Right, let’s go… the story is about 3 drag queens and their trip across Australia. Along the way, they encounter friendship, fear, love, discrimination and eventually come to an understanding of each other and this crazy world that they choose to be apart of. Secrets and personal situations lead these friends on an adventure of discovery and a trip of a lifetime. The music is a compilation of some of the greatest diva inspired music. Expect to hear songs like “It’s raining men,” “I say a little prayer” and “Girls just want to have fun” amongst many other songs that you can’t help but jive along to. This show is ALL about the art department. From the

This show is ALL about the art department. From the costumes to the makeup, to the set design and to the wigs. This production is an absolute visual treat. A candy floss explosion of colour, texture, glitter and creativity. There were many huge prop pieces that blew my mind. In one of the most memorable scenes of the show, a huge silver stiletto can be seen on top of the bus. I have no idea how much glitter was used to cover this gigantic piece but it was just fantastic! There can never be too much glitter and this show is a testament to this fact. The bus ‘Priscilla’ is such a wonderful piece in this production. Lights are used to bring this piece to life and the bus is as much of a character as any other person in this show.

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The cast is phenomenal. It seems like each person who was cast was chosen with such care that there is truly only talent on the stage. The three main characters Bernadette, Tick (Mitzi) and (Adam) Felicia are played by David Dennis, Daniel Buys and Phillip Schnetler. These three men are so damn talented! David Dennis becomes the character of Bernadette in such a way that I heard audience members asking if ‘she’ is a woman in real life. His comedic moments are delivered with such grace that even the crudest of references becomes funny and I-told-you-so like. Daniel Buys brings a sense of humility to his character that you cannot help but root for him to succeed. He (Mitzi) truly is such a darling on stage- I wanted to be her best friend. Phillip Schnetler… Oh wow… this guy is unbelievable! His extravagant charm was really just a joy to watch. Felicia is one of those characters that tries to prove that nothing can phase her however when she gets knocked down, she hits the ground hard and when this happened in the show all I wanted to do was run up and hug her!

The rest of the cast work so well together on stage too. The three divas Candida Mosoma, Thembeka Mnguni and Londiwe Dhlomo-Dlamini brought such glamour to the show. They have the most wonderful voices and I appreciated the effort it must have been for them to sing while being suspended from the ceiling. There was not a single cast member who brought the show down. Each individual was energetic, excited and talented. It was just a wonderful cast to watch on stage.

The true star of the show had to be the costume designer. WOW, where these costumes amazing! I have no idea how someone comes up with some of these outfits but they were truly fantastic. I loved it all, from a dress made out of slip slops to hats with rubber ducks intertwined. This wardrobe department was completely on point and each outfit was more fabulous than the last. This show was truly spectacular. It was for sure one of the grandest productions I have seen and it is going to be an extremely tough act to follow- so good luck to the team of the next big production!

I loved every second of it and was truly upset when it ended. I was not the only one wanting this show to go on for longer, many people in the audience left the theatre planning their next visit to this fantastic show. If you can, you need to make the trip and see this production. The show is full of comedy, humility, gilts, glam and everything in-between! You will not regret it- I promise.

Do yourself a favour and book your tickets through computicket now! You do not want to miss this one…

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

 

The play that goes wrong (2017)

Hi everyone,

So this is a super exciting review to write! Last night I went to go see “The play that goes wrong” at the theater at Montecasino. A couple of years ago the British company of this same production did a scene at the annual Queen’s Variety performance. I remember laughing myself silly. When I saw that this play was being put on at Montecasino I jumped at the opportunity and booked tickets right away- luckily I did because the performance we went to was sold out. ( 15 April 2017)

The play is about a play that goes horribly wrong. Everything you can imagine going wrong goes wrong. From the actors forgetting their lines to the stage hands forgetting to set props- even the sound and lighting techs forget to do their jobs. It is a wonderful comedy of errors with a few story plots in between. The play is directed by Alan Comittie and he has done a fantastic job of creating these epically comedically timed moments throughout the show.

The cast is relatively small however dynamite comes in small packages. The performances I enjoyed the most last night were Russel Savadier who played the detective, Craig Jackson who played two roles- the gardener and brother of the man in question and Robert Fridjhon who played Thomas Colleymoore. However, the entire cast had wonderful chemistry which really made the play tick.

There were many elements that I really loved about this play. The way that the set fell to pieces was hysterical and so well timed and the way the actors ‘improvised’ their performance was brilliant. However the element I loved the most was the experiential element of this production. This production was not just a walk in sit down and watch sort of play. It was a complete experience. From the moment the audience walks up to the theater, there are signs of things going wrong.

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The signs are the wrong way round, audience members are given the wrong seat numbers to create confusion and stage hands are still busy trying to fix broken pieces of scenery on stage. All these elements make for a wonderful experience which is so important when one visits the theater.  Another element I noticed was how backstage was set up. There were moments in the play that the audience are able to see bits of backstage. Even the backstage is set up in correlation with the theme of the play.

This play was PERFECT for me. Whenever I visit the theater I enjoy looking for mistakes or ‘things that go wrong’ because it makes me feel like there is an extra bit of humanity within the craft. In this instance, EVERYTHING goes wrong which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. By the reaction of the audience Last night I think everyone enjoyed it just as much as I did. The theater was literally vibrating from all the laughter coming from the audience. I think that the whole team behind this production can take it as the highest of compliments. Being able to keep a packed audience howling with laughter for the entire duration of the play is pure talent.

This wonderfully funny play is on at Montecasino until the end of the month. If I were you I would book tickets right away- your stomach muscles will thank you after…

(Tickets are available through computicket)

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

West Side Story- 1 Feb 2017

Hi everyone,

Last night I had the absolute privilege of attending the official opening night of the South African version of West Side Story. This musical has already completed a successful run in Cape Town and now it is finally Jozi’s chance to witness this master piece. However, I feel, that in order to truly appreciate this show one needs to understand the background from which it stems. For those of you who don’t know, West Side Story is based on the Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet is a story about forbidden love and everything that comes along with it. The play in itself is not a complicated storyline however as I watched the musical unfold last night I was left shocked at how relevant and pertinent this story still is today.

The narrative is about two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, who despise one another and want sole ownership of the territory. As ‘Romeo and Juliet’ then goes, one of the Jets falls in love with a young Shark. But here is the Twist, the reason why the Jets dislike the Sharks to such an extent is because the Sharks are immigrants who have left Puerto Rico and are now living in America. The young girl, Maria, moved to America with her family and is now trying to make a life for herself. In doing so, she falls in love with Tony and this is where the trouble starts. I do not want to give away the entire story line but everything makes an appearance in this story- Death, love, commitment, immigration, hope. It is kind of all twisted together to create the most wonderful production.

Technically, this production is spot on. I am consistently impressed with the quality of South African talent. After every show I see, I always comment on the talent that is shown on stage. I admire actors and actresses for their unconditional bravery. Whether that be singing on stage, talking on stage, dancing on stage or whatever else they do on stage, their bravery to do so constantly impresses me. Lynelle Kenned who played the lead role, Maria, stole the show for me. Her voice is beautiful and her portrayal of Maria was so believable and yet it didn’t feel forced. I really enjoyed watching her on stage.

Another performance that stood out for me was Bianca Le Grange’s portrayal of Anita. The character of Anita is feisty, confident and loud however I felt Bianca brought a sense of calmness to the character. Anita goes through a lot during the narrative of the production and the way Bianca played the ups and downs was really wonderful. She showed the audience both strength and vulnerability when needed. Her voice, by the way, out of this world!

I am an art department baby. In the final year of my degree I specialized in Special Effects makeup. This is why I loved the parts of the production that included SFX. The show made use of false blood which can sometimes loose effect on stage. Having said this, the SFX that was used in this production was just right! It was bright enough to make an impact but not in your face that it looked false. I haven’t seen these kind of effects used on stage before and I must say, it really added a whole new side to the show.

West Side Story is not your typical ‘glitzy’ musical. There is a roughness and a strength to the musical that feels almost male driven. However, since the show is about forbidden love, the female energy as well as the male energy provide a wonderful contradiction that seems to balance out. The boys are violence driven, they want to fight. Each side wants to be the winner but, I felt, that the woman allowed me to relate even more to the story. The men might be fighting for dominance but the woman are fighting to create a liberating life for themselves, with their men by their sides of course. I really enjoyed watching this dynamic be played out on stage.

West Side Story is the type of musical that feeds my theater obsession. Reason being that this show explores more than an over the top dance sequence. It shows off life. It shows the audience what they are experiencing and the audience responds. And it is this transaction between audience and cast that fascinates me. On stage last night I watched actors pretend to be characters that were going through situations but what I took from it was so much more. Good old Shakespeare knew what he was talking about!

Congratulations to the entire team that put together this musical, it was well worth the wait.

West Side Story is on at the Joburg Theater until the 5th of March, DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

Cirque Eloize ID (30 November 2016)

Unbelievable, Unreal, Astonishing, beautiful and insane are some of the words that came to mind after watching the incredible company of Cirque Eloize ID at Montecasino last night. The show has travelled here for the second time now and I am so happy I got to attend the opening night in Johannesburg last night. It all goes down at the beautiful Teatro theatre at Montecasino.

I have been to many shows. I have seen a lot of musicals, comedy, dancing and singing. I have seen over the top costumes, incredible sets and huge dance routines. I have watched actors and actresses who are so extremely talented and I have enjoyed every minute of it all. But I have NEVER seen ANYTHING like CIRQUE ELOIZE ID before. This show is so jam-packed with energy that I felt exhausted from just watching it. Watching these performers do what they do is a privilege and I have the utmost respect for them all- and their mothers.

I am pretty certain that these performers possess some sort of magical power that makes them indestructible. The way they move, the way they perform and the tricks that their bodies are able to do are truly incredible. I actually am at a loss of where to start…

The show takes place in an Urban setting and gives off a west side story kind of feel. Throughout the show, there is a story being told. Two groups are battling it out to secure their place in ‘the streets’. There are lovers, rivals and friends. Each section of art, for lack of a better word, has an underlying theme that seems to enhance the story of an Urban city.

What was amazing for me was that these performers did not need any ‘glitter’ to make it all work and come together. Their tricks were out of this world but the way they interacted with the audience was real and raw and I felt like I got to see each performer’s personality. Often when there are many performers on stage the audience get a broad idea of the story, in this show, I felt like each performer was showing me his or her skills. I can not juggle half as well as the juggler but I felt like he drew me in so deeply that I completely connected with him.

There really was nothing complicated on stage or on their performers. On the stage was a tower of boxes- that was it- but the way these boxes were transformed to suit each piece in the show was amazing. Digital graphics were used to set the scene and give the stage a unique background and different levels and openings were used to aid the performers. The ‘box towers’ magical changed from apartment blocks to beautiful backgrounds to a trampoline! It was truly genius.

Each performer had a different talent and it was shown off so beautifully. I felt like everyone had a chance to show the audience what they can do and each act was amazing. No one outshined anyone and there was no sense of who is better than who. I want to say this was largely due to the choreography and the gap fillers in the show. The way that the other performers were choreographed while the main act was performing was so well done. They helped show the audience what was going on when the stage got very busy at times.  There was always a supporting performer on stage to help jolt your eye to the correct place or explain what the main performer was actually doing.

There were so many outstanding acts that it is so difficult to choose ones that I loved more than others. I loved the hip-hop element to it and the acrobatics were insane. The way these people fly through the air is truly amazing. Juggling is always a fun thing to watch and the contortionist was awesome to watch. How she gets her legs all the way over her head like that I will never know- and that’s ok because I just want to enjoy it. The skipping section is so energetic and the aerialists were amazing. The chair balancing piece made me cringe in the best way.

What made the whole night even more exciting was that I got to meet some of the performers after the show. This was a wonderful moment because it reminded me that they are still just people. I watched these incredible artists leave their lives on the stage- literally- and then I got to speak to them like humans do. It was a wonderful contrast that really put the entire experience into perspective.

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The show is running until the 24th December at Montecasino. If you want to treat yourself and someone special to an amazing experience, this is it! GO GO GO!!!

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*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

 

Robin Hood and the Babes of the wood (2016)

Hi everyone,

It’s that time of year again. Schools are beginning to quieten down for the year, Christmas presents are beginning to be thought about, last minute holidays are being booked and the annual PANTOMIME is on! This year Director Janice Honeyman chose a new story to share- Robin Hood and the babes of the wood. The show has a star-studded cast including Kate Normington as The spirit of the wood fairy, Izak Davel as Robin Hood, Graham Hopkins as the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, Carmen Pretorius as Maid Marian as well as many other talented South African stars.

There is such a sense of fun at the Pantomime. Everyone just wants to have a good time and relax. It really is a great atmosphere to be a part of. There is always plenty to keep everybody entertained. Cultural humor for the adults, extravagant costumes, heroes for the boys, fairies, and princesses for the girls and music that everyone can enjoy. It truly is a family affair.

The cultural references in this year’s script were so up to date that it felt like the characters were living in our present South African society. Someone must have their fingers on the pulse in the creative team because everything was so current and SO funny. Everything from taxes to social media culture, the South African government and the American election were thrown together to create a pop of well, culture.

My only problem this year was that I found the story a bit hard to follow, however, this did not lessen my enjoyment because there were plenty of costumes, sets, jokes and music to keep me going… Going back to set design, I am SO impressed with the set design that I have seen in the past few shows I have been too. Each show out does the previous one when it comes to the art department and this show was no exception. The sets were so colorful, interesting and unique that it truly brought the characters to life.

The cast of this show is so talented. Having seen a number of cast members, Natasha Van De Merwe, Bongi Mthombeni, Candida Mosoma and Nurit Graff (to name a few) in other productions I got so excited at the prospect of seeing them on stage again! Everyone who walked on stage performed with such enthusiasm, energy and commitment that it made me happy to watch people enjoying their craft and succeeding. I always feel that any actor, singer or dancer on stage is so brave because they put themselves forward for public scrutiny and they hardly receive enough credit for their hard work and dedication.

There was some stand out moments of course. The merry men performed a hilarious song about their manly-ness, which my 11-year-old brother found most amusing. The two babes Tokkel (Dale Scheepers) and Tina (Kyra Green) brought some heart into the show. Friar Tuck (Desmond Dube) and Little John (Phumi Mncayi) do a Hilarious rendition of ‘the bear necessities’… the list could go on and on…

Naturally, the only thing left for me to say is congratulations to the entire cast and crew on a fun-loving, entertaining and exciting production!

The show runs at the Joburg Theater until the 30th of December so be sure to book your ticket for an awesome day out….

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

Saturday Night Fever in South Africa

Hi all,

Last night I was fortunate enough to go and watch the South African production of Saturday Night Fever. Ironically enough, it is one of the only musicals I had not see before and I was excited to go to a musical with no expectations or ideas about what the production ‘should’ be like. I knew about John Travolta and his fantastic white suit and I knew that the movie was about dancing and popularised Disco music, but that was where my knowledge more or less ended.

Let’s start with the music, I LOVED IT. Disco music is such a fast paced and exciting genre to dance to and it was really fun to watch this come alive on stage. I was surprised to see how much music I recognised throughout the production. Songs like Boogie shoes, staying alive and more than a woman were performed and it made me very happy. The music used in the play is just so happy that you can’t help but tap along.

What goes hand in hand with a story about dancing? The choreography of course and WOW was it amazing! The cast was so extremely talented in the dancing department that I was blown away by how wonderfully all the dances were executed. From complicated lifts too fast disco moves, it was all put together so beautifully. Being a past ballroom dancer myself, many of the dance moves brought back such great memories. Watching the actors dance on stage made me miss dancing and the high that it can give you. There is something different about Disco choreography. It is not as gender specific as other styles of dance and it was fascinating because instead of watching couples dance as a leader and a follower, it was more a sense of just keep up! Everything moved so fast that if you had to blink you would miss it all and I loved that feeling of not knowing what comes next.

Whichever way you look at it, I am an art department baby. My passion lies within the art department and it is the first thing I notice at any production. What stood out for me in this production was the Production design. It was so inventive and honestly nothing like I have seen on South African stages before. The way the stage moved and how the different ‘blocks’ were used to manipulate the surroundings was brilliant. The underground Disco club and the top of the Brooklyn bridge were so well presented and it gave the production a whole new perspective. The club felt deep and heavy and the bridge felt high and daunting.

One of the scenes that stood out for me with regards to the production design was towards the end when the main characters were singing about their misfortunes and every block was lit differently, revealing different people and their different situations. It was really a wonderful moment in the story and it was executed so well. The costumes, scenery and background action all gave the audience a very good sense of where the story was and the type of feel that was in the city at the time.

From the beginning, it was obvious that the cast of the production is very talented. However, the leads Daniel Buys and Natasha Vander Merwe were exceptional. There are many cases where a supporting role can outshine the lead role however this was not the case in this production. Both leads were so extremely strong with their performances that I could not take my eyes off of them. Daniel Buys sang and danced all at once while staying slick. His accent was also so well done and within an hour and a half or so, I grew to love his portrayal of the character. Natasha Vander Merwe, on the other hand, was equally as strong of a dancer and her voice was just beautiful. When she sand the song ‘What kind of fool’ I felt like I was in a trance and I did not want it to end. The two of them together made such a fantastic team on stage and I wouldn’t be surprised if they found themselves acting opposite each other in many other productions in the future. They really were the whole package.

Overall the production was a celebration of good music, good dancing and a great story. A story full of friendship, passion, honest mistakes and honest apologies. From not knowing much about Saturday Night Fever, I can now declare that I am a big fan! The production is running until the 9th of October at the state theatre in Pretoria. Tickets are available from Computicket and I highly suggest you make the trip to be transported into the 1970’s and the world of Disco.

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx