Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: David Kramer

Orpheus in Africa – a triumph of spirit and intention

unnamed-3Last night I had a profound experience at the theatre (The Fugard) and what was doubly surprising about it was that it was a musical (I hate musicals), and it was one I thought I had seen before; David Kramer’s Orpheus in Africa. This not the same one I saw at the beginning of the year. This is a reworked, finely tuned, and now truly powerful story, that is devastating, uplifting, human and heroic. It is David Kramer’s best work I think.

It totally helps that he has the cast of dreams, and that Aubrey Poo is beyond magnificent and was meant to be Orpheus Macadoo. And the rest of the cast are outstanding without exception, though I will make an exception when saying how brilliant Jill (Jazz) Levenberg is. Even the little niggles I had last time (wavery accents and weird white people) are gone, and the performances are better in every single way. A welcome addition to the delicious cast is Adrian Galley.

But what has happened to transform this musical and make it transcendent is that David Kramer has found the story. It is a complicated one, and he has had to travel through facts, and scratch out history and imagination to uncover the story that makes the journeys, successes, failures and ultimately the passions of the Macadoos, Virginia, so meaningful. David captures the vision of the world, and particularly South Africa, through the unique eyes of travelling American just freed black people, and it is such an extraordinary journey. Plus, I think it is so unexpectedly brave and risky to rework a show of this scale, but it has paid off in bucket loads.

I love this show. I love the music, and I am deeply in love with the style of the period, the costumes, and the performances. I love the singing, and the music (Charl-Johan Lingenfelder you make me laugh and laugh) and the Jubilee songs. And Aubrey Poo, you move me.

(Pic by the amazing Jesse Kramer)

 

Kat And The Kings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.  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.

I Like It Vrot

Jinne ek was bly gewies that I managed to wikkel me and Big Friendly tickets to last night’s “media night” of David Kramer’s new musical comedy @The Baxter. That either almost makes me media, or just very forward; just saying. There is such a lekker vibe when The Baxter foyer is full and pumping, and it’s a David Kramer, Mark Lottering, Christo Davids combo that pulls the crowd.

David’s musical is centred around one of Mark Lottering’s characters, Shmiley the ghaatjie, who has now found himself a full cast of players to play with, a Cape Town crime story of massive proportions to be caught up in, delicious opportunities to be in drag, and special new Kramer songs to sing.

The result is fresh, funny, cute and delicious. The cast are amazing. Larissa Hughes, who plays detective Mercia Meintjies is by far my favourite. Ok, ok I’m biased, but honestly, that girl is a brilliant actress, a powerful presence, hilarious at comedy, and yo, can she sing. But, to be fair, I loved almost everybody just as much. I loved Mark Lottering. And Christo Davids. Oh, and Abduragman Adams. And the rest.

The story is very local, set in Cape Town, the Cape Flats and Wynberg (by the magistrate’s court ne), and perlemoen poaching, gangster action, night clubs and a hotel at The Waterfront are the background for a farcical romp while Mercia does her detective work to catch the bad guy. There is hilarious drag, the best Al Jay Zee gangsta hip hop, a touching solo or two, and kick ass performances from everybody.

Nothing about Some Like It Vrot is earth shatteringly original; but it has the perfect formula for hilarious local entertainment, brilliantly done. Even if full on traditional musicals are not your cup of whatever, you will love this laid back jaul, that delivers entertainment on every level.

Oh ja, and the set (Saul Radomsky) and costumes (Craig Leo) are amazing! Lekka. I did not find it baaring, ever.

(This awesome photo is by Jesse Kramer)

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