Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: show reviews (Page 5 of 47)

The List

I do not have any children. This makes me one of a very few women of my age who don’t know what it’s like to look after and grow them. And it is possible that that is the reason why I wasn’t entirely swept up by the script of The List, in spite of being entranced, moved, mesmerised and awed by Susan Danford’s performance.

The List, written by Jennifer Tremblay, directed by Leila Henriques and embodied by Susan Danford, opened at The Baxter last night. And it is a like an arrow to the heart in terms of performance, regardless of (for me) its rather ‘for chicks’ subject matter.

I must confess, I didn’t like the set except for the projections of the words, like chapters, and I wasn’t crazy about the lighting, but who cares? Susan was brilliant, and she held me and moved me. She is a godess of acting.

A Funny Thing at the Alexander Bar

I always get so delighted when I go and watch stuff at Alexander Bar. I am so proud that I know Nicholas and Edward and that I can ‘chat to the owners’ of Cape Town’s most delicious bar and theatre. So it wasn’t hard to propel myself there last night (on Nicholas’ recommendation) to watch A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Talent Show (I know, I know, not great for the second longest title in the world).

I knew very little about the show, other than Roxanne Blaise was one of the two performers. She shares the stage with Greg Parvess in Ian Tucker’s script, and it is a real cutie. Two contestants for a talent show are forced to share the same make-shift dressing room as the competition runs a bit late and, let’s just say that they are very different. Roxanne plays Angel, a wannabe stand-up, to absolute perfection. She is delicious, funny, intense, energetic and so totally lovable in the most irritating way. Greg plays the actor with a physical intensity that I love (but I just wish there was more why in the script to justify the extremeness of his action).

I laughed out loud a lot at this local, clever, cute and delightful show. If you are reading this today, go and see it tonight. Bam.

Cute as Bear Shit Champ

I am one of the didn’t-see-it-last-timers. I had been kicked off Artscape’s New Writing Programme’s opening night invite list, and I was in production with something else and I never made it; but obvz I had heard all about it, and was amped to see it last night. I even managed to beg to be invited to its opening at The Fugard, and I am so glad I did.

Champ. 3 actors dressed in bear suits and their demented hippy manager/director are having a particularly crap day at the Mall and their kiddie’s entertainment is being sabotaged by the pissing monster child, 6 year old Rodney. Things go from very bad to very worse when they score six bottles of Stellenbosch whiskey. That is all I am saying.

Champ is Mark Elderkin, Nicholas Pauling (who are completely amazing, show makingly great) and Oliver Booth (a little less completely amazing) as the bear suited actors, Pierre Malherbe as the completely whacky and bizarre Waldo (I love Pierre Malherbe a lot) and Jenny Stead, the Minnie Mouse from hell of Mall Management (who managed to pull off a final monologue like a maniac). Champ is also filthy mouthed playwright Louis Viljoen (who already won the Fleur for Champ for Best New South African Script) and director Greg Karvellas. And amazing Julia Anastosopolous designed the gloomy and grim looking set (I loved what happened to it during the Horror).

Now I am not scared of swearing. This is good, because there is a lot of it in Louis’ fast and hectic dialogue, and some of it is very explicit and creative. I am also not (very) scared of the predicament of under employed actors, and I know their (our) type very well. It should probably be said here that I spent two years working weekends at The East Rand Mall (in a job so indescribably hellish I cannot even do it here), and I spent about two years performing dramatised school tour walkabouts at the V&A Waterfront. Yup. Fo shizzle. So, Champ was pretty familiar territory for me. And I guess, that’s what made it (stripped of every second expletive) damn funny and cute.

Champ is a fast, fun, filthy frolic through the hells of malls, acting, and fucked up relationships that produce offspring with the worst parents. I had a good laugh out loud time.

PS. I also loved the pre and post show music, and I was also jealous. I want to be in a play like that and speak that dialogue.

The Line

I thought I would only get to this in the morning, after taking a bit of time to compose myself, but I can’t help it. It needs to be written now. Truth is, I am waiting for my face to get back to normal, from an hour long cry.

Tonight was the opening of my sister-in-law Gina Shmukler’s play The Line at The Baxter Studio. It is only on this week, as part of the Rolex something or another (not exactly sure), but this means that you need to make a very special effort to get to one of the very few performances. It is absolutely required viewing.

This play has arrived in CT with a lot of hype because of how well it did in Joburg at The Market. I was nervous about how it would translate for a Cape Town audience, particularly an invited, opening night one. I didn’t need to worry. It delivered on every level and I was in trouble after the first five minutes and didn’t ever pull myself back.

Some of you will know how the subject of xenophobia gets me going and so it is no surprise that from this point of view I was invested. Two actresses play characters and tell stories taken directly from interviews with perpetrators, victims and witnesses of the out of control xenophobic attacks that rocked South Africa in 2008. And it is devastating.

The Line is a radical, complex, powerful, shattering, horrific, personal, critical, and ultimately human look at these xenophobic attacks, and how it affected those involved. I knew that this was what it was about, and yet, revisiting it in this way was like opening the emotional floodgates. That’s because the piece is so contained and clear and it is able to cut to the real dark heart of this horror without ever getting sentimental, preachy or message mad.

The two actresses, Khutjo Green and Gabi Harris are nothing short of extraordinary. I marveled at their performances. The set (Niall Griffin) and sound (Charl-Johan Lingenfelder) were perfect, as was the lighting, but I say this as an afterthought. I was totally undone by this piece in its totality, and I cannot urge you strongly enough to go and see it. Go.

Heather Mac I love you.

Today is my birthday. There is a cup cake surrounded by silver hearts outside my door. I am lying in bed, in my boet and sister-in-law’s place in Jozi, surrounded by double the stuff I brought with, to pack and take home. Big Friendly is the coffee maker. And I am generally delighted.

Last night though, last night was a celebration. One of those accidentally serendipitous, magical bests. Heather Mac, Mark Harris and Amber Parr (Heather’s glorious daughter) just happened to be in Jozi, performing a gig at Old Mutual Theatre on The Square as a fundraiser for Assitej. I invited a small posse of Jozi friends and family to join us to watch and listen, and it was truly, totally amazing.

Heather is an exquisite and deeply moving performer, with a heart voice connection and a presence on stage that literally brings me to sudden tears, and that is how I stay, from first note to last. Mark Harris is delicious on stage as guitar man and Amber Parr is the most generous and gorgeous back up singer to her mom. It also helped that the best sound guy in SA, Heather’s brother John Mac was there to do the best ever sound. It was an awesome gig and a total treat to have been in Jozi to witness it. I thank my closest, who I dragged there, but who loved it as much as I did. My only wish was that more people had known about it. Assitej deserve the money, and I know for sure Heather has many, many old fans (just like me and my friends) from and in Jozi, who will hear about this gig today and literally kick themselves for not knowing about it sooner.

I am lucky. I have access to Heather and get to see her a lot more in Slaap Stad. And I will always be there. Crying along. Thank you, my great friend and inspiration, Leather Sac.

So You Think You Can Love

Sonia Esguiera is kak funny. And that is why her new one woman show So You Think You Can Love that opened at Artscape’s Arena last night really works. It is kak funny. The content is nothing new. A girl wants to find a boyfriend, and get married and have babies. The people in her life; her mother, best friend, personal trainer, spiritual ‘guide’ etc, are equally desperate that she hooks up. But when she does, is it Mr Right, or Mr Right On?

The thing with Sonia is that she is very, very good. Her take on this all feels fresh and fun. Her comic timing is perfect, her characterisations are spot on, her emotional connection is strong, her physicality is great. But who cares about all of that? She is bladdy hilarious, and that’s why this show is the best way to spend an hour.

It helps that it is well directed (John Trengrove) and that the set (Angela Nemov) is gorgeous, simple and surprising (you can’t believe what is hidden in, under and behind it), but again, who cares? Sonia is kak funny. She could be standing on a pile of books and be reading the telephone book (do they still make telephone books?) and she would be that. Kak funny. So go see it, and laugh.

Page 5 of 47

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén