As winter hits Cape Town, it seems natural to take things down a notch or two. It’s the time for red wine and sexy cabarets; perfect timing then to huddle into The Alexander Bar and be warmed by the lyrics and laughter of Dani and the Lion.
The striking Daneel van der Walt, who received a Fleur de Cap for her role as Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show, shakes off her corsets and garters and instead flaunts her own flavour. Dani and the Lion is van der Walt’s first cabaret with most of the material her own – except a delightful mashup up 80’s TV jingles that takes you back in time like a channel-hopping time-warp. Her songs and stories teeter on the bizarre, if you can imagine surrealism delivered with a deadpan seriousness. Not only is it loads of fun, but you never know what to expect next.
Daneel is accompanied by a booze-guzzling keyboard-playing Lion (Roelof Colyn). Colyn’s musical talents stretch far, with past involvement as conductor/musical director/arranger and more (Rocky Horror Show, Hairspray, Fiela’s Child). This time, as accompanist, backing vocals and resident Lion, he balances out van der Walt’s dramatic voice and presence beautifully. Together they weave the audience in and out of tales of Gerry the Giraffe, a lonely whale, odes to slow driving and a favourite murder ballad.
Dani and the Lion is the perfect show for a cold night. And the fact that people were scrambling for an open seat on preview night, bodes well for the future of this piece. Full of entertaining stories and resonating with van der Walt’s deep soulful voice, this is goosebump cabaret that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Dani and the Lion ran at The Alexander Bar 3, 4 and 5 June 2015 as a sneak peek before a longer run in July.