I was flu-ish and slightly feverish last night. I thought it wouldn’t be a great way to experience David Kramer’s famous musical Kat And The Kings, but instead I had an amazing and slightly transcendent experience. I sat in the Fugard theatre last night and had one of those moments of pure childhood fantasy. It was an idea of the impossible made real, like when you thought you could really, really have a talking dog, the only one ever and it would belong to you? The power of the childhood fantasy was always an emotional one too. It made you feel something huge and indescribable; a feeling of such potent longing and possibility. That’s what I felt last night in the theatre during Kat And The Kings.
I am not going to go into any detail about this production (which is completely fabulous) or the cast (who are mostly amazing) or the design (lovely) or the production values (awesome), or the absolute hugeness of the difference a live band makes. Let’s take how good this show is for granted. I want to talk about the other stuff, the stuff it made me feel.
Imagine this. Imagine that Kat and The Kings was a show that ran in Cape Town, right where it is now, at The Fugard, for forever. Imagine that every tourist, both local and international, when they came to Cape Town went to Robben Island, Table Mountain, to the penguins, and to Kat And The Kings. Imagine many of them being disappointed because shows were sold out months in advance. The cast would change, people would move on, but Kat And The Kings would keep going. Locals would attend every couple of years, celebrating birthdays, and anniversaries, and even deaths. Â People would come to Kat And The Kings as one of the first things they did when they came home to the city. Audiences would dress up on certain nights (like the Rocky Horror Picture Show) in polka dot skirts, kid gloves, pomaded hair and skinny ties. School kids would come, at least once during primary school and once during high school, as part of the school syllabus. Old people would come, from Woodstock and Rylands and Athlone and the Flats to hear the stories of their parents and grand parents.
Kat And The Kings would run for years and years and years, like Moulin Rouge in Paris. It would be part of Cape Town, and it would preserve that history and all its charm in the best possible way. In theatre. In song. In laughter. And love. We could make this happen. We could just keep going to Kat And The Kings.