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

 

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What’s on in Joburg?

Hi all.

The other day I was screening the broadway.com site for plays currently playing on Broadway in New York. Feeling rather left out of the theater fun, I decided to have a look locally at what is showing around JHB. I got the most pleasant surprise at just how much is showing in the next month or so that I thought I just have to share. So without further ado here is my summary of shows currently on in Johannesburg;

Let’s start with Montecasino. There is a fortune going on at Monte between now and June and it is rather exciting. “The play that goes wrong” is currently showing in the small theater. This hysterical comedy of errors comes from the UK and is taking residency here until the end of the month. This play was featured at the Queen’s variety show a few years ago and promise to be an evening filled with laughter.  (I am hoping to see this soon so keep a look out for the review :))

The big musical coming to JHB this April is “Priscilla Queen of the desert) This colourful musical is on from the 29th of April and has just been extended until the 18th of June! Very exciting news. This musical promises to be a feast for the eyes with over 500 beautiful, award winning costumes. The show is about 3 drag queens who embark on the adventure of a lifetime. The cast looks absolutely fabulous and I CANNOT wait to see this show!

On the 15th of May, the wonderful cast of the musical RENT will call Monte their home for one special performance. The original South African cast will come together to perform as a fundraiser for hospiceWits which makes it especially touching since loss and illness are two big themes in the musical.  As always, the music of rent will touch your heart and the story itself will pull on all your heartstrings. This one is not to be missed.

The last biggie at Montecasino for the next few months will be Jonathon Roxmouths ‘the musicals in concert.’ For three nights in June, Jonathon and his legendary voice will be performing all the greatest hits from all our favourite musicals. With a full orchestra and a few tricks along the way, what more can you ask for on a night at the theatre?

On the other side of Town at the Joburg Theater, there is also a wide selection of theatre shows going on. Kids will love watching their favourite characters from Winnie the Pooh come alive at the people’s theatre until the end of the month.

If you miss the special performance of RENT on at Monte, do not stress! There are performances going on at The Joburg Theater until the 5th of June. While it may not be the original cast, it will still be up to our high South African standard of talent.

These are only a few shows picked from a much greater choice. So there is lots of entertainment to choose from 😀 Enjoy, Enjoy, ENJOY!

*lights out*

Natalia

 

 

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