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

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Bollywood Blonde by Gene Gualdi

Hi everyone,

I just finished reading an awesome book called Bollywood Blonde. The book is written by a South African author,photographer and creative, Gene Gualdi. Gene was living and working in the film industry in Cape Town and was picked up by an Indian producer and offered a job in India. What started out as a 6-month stint turned into a 6-year adventure full of ups and downs. What first drew me to the book was the idea that a young South African, just like me, could find herself with a ‘dream’ job in an exotic country. Since I study film, it seemed like a perfect book for me to read. As I began to read the book I came to understand that Gene’s story is so much more than just an adventure, her book is a brave testimony of an experience that changed her life.

Throughout the book, I caught myself thinking ‘how did she do it?’ How did she leave her family for something completely unknown?  How did she trust a man she didn’t even know? How did she wake up at 4:30AM every morning? How did she stay excited and positive when all she wanted to do was crash? How, How and How?? The conclusion that I came to; bravery, passion and an enormous sense of adventure!

The book is written in such a wonderful way, there is no wafting. As you read the first sentence you are immediately transported into Gene’s world. The story is so fast paced that I simply could not stop reading it in fear that I would miss something. (As a slow reader being able to finish the book so quickly makes quite the statement) There are no fancy words taking up space for lack of story. Gene tells it like it is and I loved it.

The book is her true story about her time spent in India. It follows her dramatic life there and introduces the reader to all the amazing people she met along the way. The book is an honest roller coaster ride culminating in a dramatic event that changes Gene’s entire mindset. The book is not only about India but rather it is about adventure, self-realisation, the not so glamorous film industry and how a little bravery can go a long way.

I MOST DEFIANTLY recommend this book to not only aspiring filmmakers but to anyone who loves a true story. I found her story inspiring and it has given me a new perspective about filmmaking and self-confidence. I sincerely hope this book becomes a movie one day because what an exciting movie it would be!

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

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The writers of Rosewood strike again.

Hi guys,

So I am not sure how many of you are Pretty Little liars fans and how many of you left that train way back when BUT I am here to tell you that if you ever were a visitor to the fictional town of Rosewood (through the books or the series) NOW is the time to take a trip there!

The TV series Pretty Little Liars was first aired in 2010 and now almost 7 years later, the creators, cast and crew of the show have revealed that the show will be ending in April next year. As with every show, there are always mixed reviews. While some people are OBSESSED with a certain show, others may not be as inclined to watch it- It happens- That’s entertainment. However, before I judge something I like to believe I gave it a fair chance to sway me either way.

When the show first came out I was not really in the right frame of mind to grasp the concept entirely and enjoy the show. It was only about a year ago when I decided that it was time to try the show. People had told me that the show was predictable, unrelatable, boring and cliche so you can imagine my not so high expectations for the show. I got hold of the first season and absolutely loved it! Not only were the costumes amazing but I loved the personalities of the girls and I found the storyline to be interesting. I binged watched the first and second season in about a month and fell into the pretty little liar’s cycle of OMG moments.

Unfortunately, I felt like the show lacked it’s ingenious, interesting and unique qualities during seasons 4 and 5 and I began slacking on my series watching. It wasn’t until the show had their brilliant fast forward 5 years and returned with an absolutely BANG, that my interest peaked up again. The girls were now older, more mature and had had a break from Rosewood. Even though this was a ‘fictional’ time jump, I really believe that it did well for the story and the characters. I can’t help but feel that high school was tiring out the story and it needed that extra nudge to kick back into gear.

Season 6 and 7A which just finished this week, were some of the most intense episodes I have seen on the show and I loved it. The writers did a wonderful job and the cast delivered unbelievable performances.Every episode was more exciting than the next and it has made me so excited and anxious to find out how everything unfolds in the final 10 episodes next year.

Season 7B will  air in April next year and will consist of 10 final episodes which promise to answer all the unanswered questions that the series has succeeded in keeping a secret from us all. Audiences will finally get to find out who the treacherous AD is! I can’t wait!

Natalia

xxx

Troye Sivan

Hi guys,

So this past weekend saw the annual BIlboard music awards in Las vagas. It’s a really great awards show because it recognizes all the music that we listen to on the radio. This year there were some great performances and there is one that has really stuck with me. 

Troye Sivan was born in South Africa, moved to Australia, starred in Spud the movie and is now starting to take over the music world. He performed “youth” at the awards ceremony and I was pleasantly surprised.  He is a young 21 year old and it is translating through his music. He looked like he belonged on the stage. He didn’t need backup dancers or crazy costumes. It was just him, his music, some laser lights and it was fantastic!

After I watched his performance I went to have a look at the official music video for the song. It was really refreshing. His music feels different to me which I love. His music video stayed true to the theme of the song which is being young and it worked for me. In the video Troye and his friends are having a house party and it looks like they are having a ball! The video features Troye flirting with a really cute guy. What I liked about the video was that it showed all types of couples. It wasn’t a ‘gay’ music video just because he is gay. Rather it was an all inclusive, awesome video that focuses on the music and not the sexual orientation of the artist. 

I loved Troye in spud. I saw all three movies and laughed my way through them all. Now that I have seen what Troye can do with music I am so excited to see what the future holds for him! He received the hashtag of #onetowatch at the BIlBoard awards and I am certainly watching out for him! Call me a fan, I won’t deny it… 

Natalia

xxx