Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: Gideon Lombard

Special Special Thanks to Guests from Afar

The drought has been broken. Last week I saw three not good things in a row. I was feeling like theatre was the emperor and it was wearing no clothes and the people were praising because they were too scared to say what they thought. But last night definitely restored my faith.

I went to see the first preview of Nicholas Spagnoletti’s new play Special Thanks to Guests from Afar (I have been kicked off the opening night invite list after years of attending everything at Artscape’s New Writing Programme – probably for writing about  a production I didn’t like) and it was like drinking from a fresh new glass.

Special Thanks is about old South African friends attending a wedding in a weird little spot in Germany. Two good friends and the brother of the groom hook up for some interesting discovery stuff about themselves and each other and it is a really funny, touching, wacky and lovely script.

The best part about the production (especially since it is the first outing of the play) is that it feels like such a successful collaboration. Visible is the crazy funny sensitive hand of the director, Matthew Wild (Matthew I have got to get my hands on some of that weird German folk music! Ehrmagherd!) , the gorgeous cast of Nicholas Dallas, Gideon Lombard and Chi Mhende, fab designers Angela Nemov and Alfred Rietmann, and of course Nicholas.

I love how Nicholas has chosen three really strange and interesting characters to bring to life. They are not the marriage couple, or even the best friends. They are the strange “what do we do with them?” bunch. “Adults who will sit at the children’s table.” The brother of the groom (Lombard) is even weirder. Go and see why.

These delicious actors are going to have a ball, the minute they realise that this production works. They are already busy with such lovely nuance and it’s going to be fabulous to watch them grow. I think this one is a winner. Bravo.

Definitely Miskien

miskien The opening night of Miskien at The Intimate Theatre tonight was a great way for me to break what has been a bit of a theatre drought. I loved the show and was very moved by it. Directed by Tara Louise Notcutt and performed by Albert Pretorius and Gideon Lombard, Miskien is the sometimes very funny, sometimes totally recognisable, sometimes almost stereotypical, and mostly very poignant story of friendship and love between two guys.

The characters are beautifully drawn and incredibly well performed, neither man losing a moment, making it engaging all the time. I loved them. I loved their charm, their drunk scene, their rugby watching. I loved how they slipped from English to Afrikaans and from hardcore to naff with such ease.

But it was the direction of the piece that I thought was really masterful. Tara’s attention to detail was so cool. The sound and lights were amazing. The use of the space and the different doors were inspirational and the balance and tension of the final scene was beautiful. I really loved this play.

One of the best things about it is that although homosexuality is a theme, it isn’t a message. Nobody is driving anything home, or being sexually gratuitous, or slam dunking an issue down our throats. This is a story, of how two best friends live, and feel about each other. It is brave, original, sexy, South African theatre.

I must confess that there were times that I worried about the fact that I had dragged a 17 year old schoolboy, who is job shadowing me, with. The hardcore language and sex descriptions had me staring at Big Friendly with eyes the size of saucers, but the schoolboy promised me he was cool with the play, and on our way home he said how much he had enjoyed it. I’m getting old hey? I think this play must do the Afrikaans theatre festival circuit.

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