Dive into the archives.

Hitched in an old church in Kalk Bay…

Fiona Gordon: When the foundations of the carefully constructed three-tier wedding cake are shaken, disaster is bound to loom…

Metres of lace and mounds of icing, flashing photographers and those all-important two little words… It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.

And then what?

And then everyone goes home and they all live happily after…


Wedding Dress Designer Iris Cardiff’s (Alicia McCormick) picture perfect wedding turns into a less-than-pretty-picture where burnt toast and a jet-setting husband Nick (played by a very competent Lloyd Kandlin) threaten to topple the illusion. But when a bizarre turn of events pulls that royal red carpet out from under their feet, and it emerges that things are not as they might have seemed, they are forced to stop and take stock.

Michele Maxwell plays Joanie, a larger-than-life celebrity client-turned-friend and unlikely voice of reason in the madness of misunderstanding that seems to otherwise pervade their life. What with interference from Nick’s blonde bombshell producer (Roxanne Prentice) and tabloid vulture brother (Rory Berry), uptight Iris and her increasingly famous TV naturalist husband need all the help they can get, as they battle through the challenges of their first year of ‘wedded bliss’.

The beauty of a theatre setting this intimate is that you really do get to see the actors ‘up close and personal’. But the proximity does mean that their ’spotlights’ are less forgiving of any flaws. No worries for McCormick in particular, who pulls off a performance which resonates truth and integrity; utterly believable in her portrayal of a spectrum of (very British) emotions.

Kandlin’s clever set opens and closes as pieces of furniture have multiple uses. Apart from the time taken to change the set between scenes, the production is tight, well worth time and money spent, and an exciting debut for the Hairy Quagga Production Company.

‘Many a truth is told in jest’, the old maxim goes… Here you will laugh. You will recognise some eternal truths perhaps, and ponder upon them if you wish. And you will surely leave – as I did – with the refrain of ‘Love and Marriage’ a soundtrack to your thoughts for days after.

And that is the beauty of theatre.

‘Hitched’ is written by Dr Barbara Whitfield and Paul Tosio, and directed by Tosio. Lighting Design is by Mathew Lewis. Fresh from a run in London, its South African premiere runs at the Kalk Bay Theatre with an all-South African cast, Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8:30pm until 26 February 2011. Doors open at 6pm, and patrons can enjoy a meal before the show. Tickets cost R120 – for bookings, contact 073 220 5430 or www.kbt.co.za

Fiona Gordon

The ‘Sitting Man’ does a whole lot more…

Fiona Gordon: Eight characters tell this story, of a package which must travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town…

…although the story speaks more of the characters whose hands/cars/houses it passes through, than about the package itself.

And James Cairns is the one (sometimes sitting) man on stage that does it all! With shaved head, in black pants and long-sleeved top, his neutral appearance and single, simple wooden-chair-prop allows for a blank slate on which his colourful characters and their contexts can be drawn, on this journey through the stereotypes and just-the-right-side-of-caricature characters that make up the diverse landscape of people in our country.

Across race, social strata, geography and levels of inebriation, he elicits laughs through portrayal of characters so genuine that it is almost impossible to imagine he could be anyone else – until he is… but the transitions between scenes are so distinct, and well managed, it’s easy to follow him from one to the next.

Cairns has a way of creating an expectation, and then serving something else instead – his ‘hangover communicating with him’, as he ‘sokkies his way across the Platteland’. Teasing the imagination into creating worlds around his wooden chair, I get so caught up in the drama of the scenes he creates with his words, I sometimes lose track a little of the detail of how they link together, and when the journey ends and reality descends, I’m left a little perturbed trying to make sense of it all. But the images are so real, I suspect they will leave their marks on my imagination long after this run is through.

The Sitting Man is written, directed and acted by the remarkably talented James Cairns, and plays at The Kalk Bay Theatre nightly until 21 August 2010.

James Cairns also features in ‘Dirt’ which runs 25 Aug to 11 Sep, also at the Kalk Bay Theatre. Book for the final week of Sitting Man and book for Dirt at the same time, and get both shows for R185 instead of R200. Further details at www.kbt.co.za

Fiona Gordon

The Best of June 2010

Cape Dance Company to perform at the Masque Theatre 15 – 19 June 2010

For its second season at the Masque Theatre, the Cape Dance Company (CDC), proudly celebrating its 15th year, will present a programme of new works by acclaimed South African and International choreographers,  Gregory Maqoma, Mamela Nyamza and Carlos dos Santos.  The eclectic style of the choreographies showcases the technical excellence and artistry of this athletic and cutting edge dance company.http://capetowncreatives.co.za/blog

Cape Town Design Network 9 June

The Cape Town Design Network (CTDN2010) is a monthly gathering hosted by Creative Cape Town during 2010. This month’s Design Network will be held at Primedia Broadcasting, Suite 7D, 2nd Floor, Somerset Square, Highfield Road, Green Point at 17h30. This event is focussed on graphic design and features well known designer, Bruno Morphet of Plan B Design and Tabatha King, the Managing Director of Coley Porter Bell design agency. www.creativecapetown.net

Soccer Kultcha 11 June – 10 July

Soccer Kultcha is an exhibition curated by Paul Weinberg, Warren Nelson and Leanne Barling in collaboration with Michaelis Art Gallery. Soccer Kultcha explores the footballers and their followers beyond the main stadiums. They play on any field they can find, sometimes with home-made balls or goals. This exhibition is about this vibrant soccer culture. Far from official photographs, grand stadiums and headline grabbing photojournalism, the photographs of Soccer Kultcha invite us to rediscover the game of football, and the lives and passions of ordinary people who play and celebrate the game. www.michaelis.uct.ac.za/

Joint Photographic Exhibition 3 June – 15 July

Play Jump Eat is a series of images shot all over Cape Town, exploring the themes of Joy, Play, Abundance, Beauty and Juxtaposition. In contrast to this stylised work will be the grainy images of five bright school children from Emasithandane Children’s Home in the township of Nyanga.http://capetowncreatives.co.za/blog

Evita se Perron: Soccerfree Zone June and July 2010

Soccer fever is upon us. They say there is no choice. Everything is geared to the game, like it or not. Balls will be kicked throughout the land. Wherever you go, you will be booted onto the team, vuvuzela in hand. And at a price. Evita se Perron in Darling will be the exception. The Most Famous White Woman in South Africa has declared her cabaret restaurant at the old railway station a SOCCERfree ZONE. “For every husband and son who will want to watch soccer, there will be a wife and a daughter who might not want it as badly,” says Mrs Bezuidenhout. “So let them come to Darling and share time, good food and laughter with me”. http://capetowncreatives.co.za/blog

I love you, you’re perfect, now change… 20 May – 12 June

Directed by award winning director Paul Griffiths and with musical direction by Roland Perold, the cast bring to the boards an array of musical theatre performance experience as Roland Perold, Niall Griffin, Shannyn Fourie and Candice van Litsenborgh tell the story(s) of relationship(s) – from the nerve-wracking preparation for a first date, to expressions of a love learned and earned over a lifetime.http://capetowncreatives.co.za/blog

Own Goal Group Exhibition at AVA 31 May – 25 June 2010.

Richard Mason presents Carbonage Light in the Main gallery, Arstrip and New media room. Carbonage refersto a fusion of carbon based life forms with the ideologies and Products of transnational corporations in a world that revolves around oil. Anatomical Arrangements is the first solo exhibition by Tamzyn Varney employing the Long Gallery. The work featured in this exhibition focuses on the human body as a social emblem.http://capetowncreatives.co.za/blog

Soccer Cinema Festival 5 – 10 June

The Labia Cinema complex will host a Soccer Cinema Festival from 5 – 10 June. This event is the culmination of a travelling soccer cinema project which began on 6 April 2010. The films to be screened were sourced from broadcasting commissioning editors and filmmakers from across the world to provide access to the best documentary films ever made about soccer. http://soccercinema.co.za/

From Africa with Laugh 9 June – 3 July

War. Famine. Disease. These are the stereotypical images of Africa. But 2010 is a significant year for Africa for two reasons: the FIFA World Cup comes to Africa for the first time, and no fewer than 17 countries on the continent celebrate 50 years of independence! To celebrate both, the African Arts Institute will bring stand-up comedians from around the African continent to Cape Town for their irreverent and humorous takes on Africa, independence and football! http://www.baxter.co.za

Friends become family in London Road

Robyn Scott, London Road

Fiona Gordon: She is the original doddery old lady, ‘ya know…?’ With her granny support-shoes, slow drawl, and wide-poppy-out-eyes, ‘ya know…?’

We all know her, or some version of her – sticking her nose into everyone’s business, because old people have licence to do that somehow… And because we know her, the pain of her loneliness feels that much more real.

It’s an unlikely friendship – that between Stella, who pays five thousand rand a month in rent for the converted storeroom, and the Jewish granny Rosa who lives on the fifth floor, of a block of flats in Sea Point’s London Road. But they become functionally more ‘family’ to each other than their blood or legal relatives. Without any expectation of return.

The set is simple – a table and two chairs, which easily become whatever and wherever they need to be, from Rosa’s lounge, to a bench on the Sea Point Promenade. And every other prop or aide comes from the Mary Poppins drawers of that central desk. From Family photo albums, and tablecloths and ‘ready-made’ cups of tea and a plate of ‘biccies’, to alcoholic tonics; the visual prompts are so effective one hardly needs imagination.

It takes Stella (Ntombi Makhutshi) a little while to settle into her accent. Or perhaps me to settle into placing it and following with ease. But perhaps also it is evidence of the disparity of character she must feel – an emigrant in this hostile place she must call home.

Robyn Scott is phenomenal as Rosa Kaplowitz. In her cardigan and pearls, I am truly convinced she is in her eighties. All right – perhaps in her sixties, playing someone in her eighties. But old.

But the woman that emerges from the stage door after the show is a 36 year old blonde bombshell. It makes the touching performance all the more (in)credible.

Perhaps it is the intimacy of the Kalk Bay Theatre that helps too. I feel somewhat embarrassed to realise I am tearing up, and hope nobody sees me wiping my eyes. Until I notice that even she – Rosa – has real tears running down her made-up face.

I never cease to be amazed by how perfectly Braam du Toit’s original compositions fit the feel of the stage action, and combined with Faheem Bardien’s finely-tuned lighting, and real attention to detail from director Lara Bye, this emotive story is told with such sincerity and sensitivity.

Granted, I am Capetonian. I did not grow up here, but after nearly a decade I certainly feel I can call it home. Someone who doesn’t might find that they miss out on significant detail – so much is portrayed through nuance and intimation. The connotations, sometimes, of a single word uttered must provide so much context. But that is also part of what makes it beautiful. And perhaps that is okay. With any theatre, one comes to, and leaves with, your own ‘stuff’… The emotion of ‘London Road’ really resonated with mine.

London Road is presented by KBT Productions at the Kalk Bay Theatre, from Wednesday – Saturday at 20h30 until 10 April 2010. Theatre-goers can enjoy a light meal before the show. Doors open at 18h00. Ticket prices for the performance only are R100.

To book contact 073 220 5430 or visit www.kbt.co.za.

Also visit www.londonroad.co.za or join London Road on Facebook “London Road”

London Road will be presented at the 2010 National Arts Festival as part of Cape Town Edge, a collective of independent theatre makers working together to promote ground-breaking theatre from Cape Town. Performances will take place at 12h00 daily at the Princess Alice Hall from June 20 to June 27 and from June 29 to 4 July.

Fiona Gordon