Have you heard about “Tali Shapiro?”

Hi guys,

I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and I came across an account for a woman named Tali Shapiro. The account was mainly made up of short videos created by a Jozi looking (and sounding) princess. I thought to myself  ‘This girl looks an awfully lot like Suzelle DIY.’  Could this be the same person?

The pieces of the puzzle were put together when I was going through Showmax looking for something to watch.  I came across a mockumentary called Tali’s Wedding Diary and decided to watch the trailer. It was then that I learned that the mastermind behind Suzelle DIY, Julia Anastasopoulos, is also the creator and actress behind Tali Shapiro.

The show follows Tali, a Joburg Princess who has moved to Cape Town, on her wedding planning journey. I always say how true life creates the best entertainment and this show is a testament to that fact. In many interviews about the character, Julia mentions that the inspiration behind Tali’s wedding diary arose from her own wedding planning experiences.  Although the show is styled as a comedic mockumentary, there are serious undertones which the characters address throughout the show. The pressure of Social Media plays a big role. This theme is already present in the trailer for the show.

Have a look at the official trailer here: Tali’s wedding diary trailer

From what I have seen so far, I am really excited to see where Julia takes this character. I admire her talent and how she is able to take a stereotype and transform herself into someone that we have all seen sitting at the Sorbet on the corner, or waiting at the local Seattle coffee shop.I feel that many people are going to relate to the character and in doing so, will be able to laugh at themselves and learn not to take themselves too seriously. I know this is something I have experienced while watching her Instagram videos.

What I am finding so interesting is reading about the actress behind the character. Julia seems like someone you would love to be friends with. In an interview with Essentials Magazine, she talks about how her characters differ and how, in real life, she is allergic to Garlic. [Welcome to the club Julia!] Interview with Essentials Magazine

It really is great to see homegrown talent popping up all over the place. The show, Tali’s Wedding Diary, premieres on Showmax in December and consists of 8 episodes. A South African show premiering on a South African streaming platform. It does not get any more local than that!

Look out for Tali’s Wedding Diary on Showmax this December!

If you have not heard about Tali Shapiro yet have a look at her Instagram account and Youtube videos: Tali on Showmax

xxx

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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

 

Fun in Black and White

Even though I am a huge fan of bright colours, I really appreciate the detail that goes into creating Black and white images. Sometimes taking colour away can really highlight the beauty and emotion in a photo…

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MAKEUP ARTIST: Natalia Blumenthal

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Jenna Echakowitz

MODEL: Cassi Gewer

xxx

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

 

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

Singin’ in the rain (17 February 2016)

Hi guys,

So I am extremely excited to be writing this review. I grew up with Singing in the Rain, it was one of my all time favourite movies. It is one of those feel better movies, you know, the one you choose when you feeling down to help cheer you up. I found out this production was coming to SA over a year ago and could not control my excitement! It was always a life’s goal for me to see this on stage so you can imagine how high my expectations were.

As I walked down to the Teatro at Montecasio the hallway was decorated with many umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, the ushers were wearing yellow raincoats and the weather was almost obliging to the theme of the evening- rain. It was such a wonderful way to build the excitement before the show started. We found our seats and waited for the show to begin. The lights went off and the orchestra began to play the overture. I heard them start to play the infamous song ‘Singin’ in the rain’ and all my memories of the wonderful film came flooding back.

From the first moment that the company steps onto stage you get this feeling that this show is high energy! The stage is set up like a movie studio and there is a hollywood sign in the background. You are automatically placed in the 1920’s in the golden ages of hollywood. It is most glamorous. The show opens the same way as the movie, which I think was a very good choice. The show feels like the movie, you feel  like you are in the movie. This is something I loved. The stage production did not feel like it was trying to out do the movie, rather it kept the essence of the movie and brought it to life.

The night we went to the show Duane Alexander played the lead as Don Lockwood. I am a fan of Grant Almirall and would have loved to have seen him play the part but nonetheless Duane did a great job of bringing Don and his over the top personality to life. After all stepping into the shoes of Gene Kelly is no easy task. The chemistry between Don and Cosmo Brown , his loyal sidekick, is a very important part of the story. Steven Van Wyk, who played Cosmo was fantastic! I enjoyed his performance so much and his duet with Duane, Moses Supposes was brilliant! They really worked so well on stage together.

The female leads were also nothing short of brilliant. Taryn-Lee Hudson played the annoying and excitable role of Lina Lamont so well! She got her voice down to a T and you could see that she enjoyed playing this character. She also got to wear some of the most beautiful costumes. Everything she wore was so glamours. I have watched Bethany Dickson in many different roles and I have never been disappointed. She has a way of bringing such grace and poise to the stage. She reminded me of when Debbie Reynolds played Kathy Selden in the movie and I adored it.

As wonderful as the leads were, the company was wonderful in there own right. They brought such energy to the stage and created the atmosphere. I especially enjoyed James Borthwick’s performance as R F Simpson, the producer of the company. He was funny when he needed to be and stern when the character called for it.

I have to talk about the famous scene when Don Lockwood sings and dances in the rain. OH MY GOSH. I have never seen anything like this on stage before. It was genius and magic all rolled into one. At the end of act one Don drops Kathy home after a long and exciting night. He then walks home and it begins to rain. He is in such a good mood that he bursts into ‘Singin’ in the rain’ and it begins to rain-on stage- with real water. I heard the thunder and I knew it was about to happen but I did not expect it be so beautiful. The rain started on stage and I was overtaken by this wonderful feeling of excitement and amazement. This experience can only be described as theater magic! Seeing one of the most famous, beautiful and enjoyable scenes recreated on stage was truly a dream come true.

There are so many elements to this production that make it such a treat to witness. The costumes are beautiful, the prop work is done so well and the technical side of things is so smooth. This production really showed off South African talent. We are a talented nation and anyone who thinks differently knows nothing! There were so many moments in the show that I enjoyed, I would list them all but then you would be reading for a very long time, so instead I will INSIST that you go and treat yourself to this show. Productions like these are what make me want to do what I do and reach my goal. The way I felt while watching this fantastic production is the way I want to make people feel one day.

The show closes on the 13th of March and bookings can be made through computicket. Trust me, you do not want to miss this one!!!

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx