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The smash hit musical by Willy Russell, which was the third longest running play on London’s West End, has made its triumphant debut in Cape Town. For the first time ever, Willy Russell has allowed an adaptation of the original story, moving it from a setting in Liverpool to one in Cape Town, thanks to some masterful persuasion from renowned South African director David Kramer.

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Princess Lilac, as performed by Olga Sharutenko, is an absolute dream to witness. Her elegance on the ice is unparalleled, and I was particularly captivated by the scene in which her ice skates are traded for ballet shoes. Set against the backdrop of the enchanted forest and low lighting on the stage, it is utter magic as she glides in Bourree en Pointe across the ice.

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Charl du Plessis proved to be a humorous character when speaking to the audience. Though his musical performance had been lacking, he demonstrated a deep appreciation for the piano’s technical composition and is clearly heartfelt in his aim to bring recognition to a good instrument’s value.

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Cid Rim was up next, bringing the sound back to house with a push and a shove. This guy should be dubbed “the kid who loved to make noise in his Momma’s kitchen”. He’s a percussionist who would have done just as well with a selection of pots and pans in the place of the drum set-up keys. Not to say there was no harmony, but the drums and rhythms seemed to override everything else. A little wake-up call after Fevertrails to say “Hey, don’t get too dreamy, there’s a long night still ahead.”

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“Sauvignon Blanc is the bottled spirit of the Cape and nothing says “summer” in Cape Town more clearly than the Durbanville wine valley’s Season of Sauvignon festival.”

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“If done right, a musical can become a classic that transcends generations; if not, it can become a new method of torture. Happily, Lottering has nailed it: this musical is captivating from start to finish.”

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The strongest and most riveting scene is unquestionably from Orpheus in the Underworld. This dynamic ballet bursts with comical elements and humorous characterizations. Former prima ballerina Tracy Li and her long time dance partner Daniel Rajna, who together formed one of the most renowned CTCB partnerships, are guest performers in a romantic pas de deux which also shows off their experienced acting skills. The result is quirky, elegantly playful and sweet.

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At one point, Wesley Schultz grinned and launched himself off the stage and through the crowd to play ‘Darlene’ and ‘Elouise’ from a platform in the middle of the lawn. The mark of a well-behaved audience is the fact that no one tried to ambush him on the way.

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The show was thoroughly enjoyed by my two-year-old brother who was mesmerized by the bright colours, the costumes and the cardboard cutouts of Toyland. The costumes perfectly resemble that of the original illustrations and TV series.

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All the dancers adapt well to the way Paeper’s choreography infuses the ballet with Spanish style, with exaggerated epaulement, wrist circles and buckets of attitude. This is particularly evident in the high energy flamenco numbers during the Tavern and Bullring scenes, during which the dancers stamp, clap and even play the castanets. Germano Trovato deserves to be singled out for his great musicality and flare in the Bullring scene.

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A means to escape the daily hubbub of the bustling city, the Night Bus provides both foreigners and locals with a unique perspective of Cape Town.
Departing from the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront, the Night Bus is distinctly different from the ‘hop on hop off’ day bus. For this tour, all passengers remain as a group for the 3 hour journey on a large loop around the city via Sea Point and Camps Bay to Signal Hill and back over Kloof Nek to the Waterfront.

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And when the performance gets really intense, there is nothing to distract your attention, nothing fluffy and pretty to focus on. It’s only Mkhwanazi, those lights and the weight of his story.

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Henrietta With Love, Peter Voges’ debut as a playwright (at the age of 79) is an exhibition of real, raw emotion that delves deeply into the life of a grief-stricken woman, her profound loneliness accentuated by her stark solitude on the intimately set stage. The viewer is invited not only into Henrietta’s home, but into her mind.

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What surprised me was how interactive Brand was, jumping off the stage to walk through the crowd, allowing random fans to hug him, signing autographs and improvising based on his interactions with the audience. This gave him a down-to-earth appeal that made him all the more likeable.

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Engelbert Humperdinck is 79 years old, but after almost two hours of crooning and plenty of moves, you wouldn’t believe it. It’s an evening of his best-known hits, a couple of covers and some of his new material – the perfect mix of old and new to provide a brilliant night’s entertainment.

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“The great thespian invests his Paton with a wonderful mixture of tart-tongued vigour and intense dramatic concentration. It is an accomplished and enigmatic performance in an elegantly mounted production.”

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In particular, I watched in amusement as a woman across the room made absolutely no effort to hide her fascination with the beautiful building—buildings, rather, as the restaurant is comprised of two houses joined together. Between bites of her dinner, she craned her neck to peer into a nearby room or to stare up at the ornate balconies above us—ones from which Shakespearean citations could be orated.

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“For all her intense affection and erratic disruption, Van Der Merwe’s Anne is still superbly self-possessed and self-enclosed.”

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Generally speaking, theatre is an art in which an air of insight is present amongst the cast, while the audience waits patiently in anticipation. But with improvisation, when everything from storylines to character profiles are made up on the spot, all barriers between actor and spectator are broken down.

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“It is interesting to spot how the artist’s fascination for architectural structures – and how they embrace, shelter, and frame their occupants – is tempered with her interest for biological morphologies, as seen in the visionary form of her sculptures and prints.”

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“His delivery was full of colours, dynamic contrasts and nuances, not to mention ear-shattering vocal outbursts. He had to hang onto the banister behind the conductor’s podium for support, but he made it look as natural as placing a hand on a piano.”

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“It is a highly visual production. With frosted glass sliding panels, the set changes dynamically within seconds, almost as fast as the actors switch roles.”

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The subtle exterior of brightly coloured walls that mirror the colourful houses of the nearby Bo Kaap is paired with a simple red carpet and one lone bouncer at the door.

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Schrire has a very warm and sincere stage personality and she quickly enthrals the audience with her antics. She literally made us feel at home as the instrumentalists worked their magic with brilliant playing, almost stealing the show.

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Somewhere in your life is that ‘elder’, that person who understood you when you were in doubt, who gave you sound advice and who helped you make more than one big decision in life. Tuesdays with Morrie is about just such a relationship.

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It was not the first Ocean Race legover. What of course I meant was the first stopover after the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Anyway… with a line-up of top SA bands – Holiday Murray, Them Tornados, Jack Parow and The Wedding DJs – it’s no surprise that the Puma/Volvo Ocean race party was a huge success.

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