Last night was the â€˜world premiereâ€™, as Simon Cooper (owner of The Kalk Bay Theatre, theatre producer and all round theatre lover) proclaimed of Nicholas Spagnolettiâ€™s play London Road. It was a glamorous affair at my favourite independent theatre in Cape Town.
I feel like I have already been on a long journey with London Road, having seen both staged play readings of the play over the years, so I felt like I knew what to expect from the characters and story. Wrong!
London Road is a two hander, set in sea Point. It is about the unlikely friendship that develops between Rosa (Robyn Scott), an old and sickly Jewish granny, and Stella (Ntombi Makhutshi), a Nigerian drug dealer. Lara Bye directs, with design by Craig Leo and lighting by Faheem Bardien.
I have to say that I cried. A lot. It is a very moving piece. Unexpectedly moving. And that is because this team of creators have done a fabulous job. Nicholas has written characters that any actress would die to play. Jealous is how I feel! Lara has teased out the script with Nicholas, making it subtle, poignant and very, very moving, and the actresses are completely brilliant. Craig Leoâ€™s design, and by that I mean his magic drawers that bring out everything but the kitchen sink, is the perfect solution to the play.
Robyn Scott is a master of transformation. She becomes my great auntie Hilda. Rosa is so completelyâ€¦Rosa. Her attention to detail, her weird little vocalisations, her make-up, her funny old lady sandals, her constantly moving little hand. She is a master. Ntombi Makhutshi is gorgeous, powerful and just so engaging. It is a treat to watch these two on stage.
I cannot think of a single reason why anyone in Cape Town shouldnâ€™t see this play. It is proof that a play can grow, develop, be reworked and become something totally precious and beautiful. Bravo to all.