Theatre Review: Wrongly Accused

Wrongly Accused is what theatre will look like after the apocalypse – stripped down to its core, unadulterated talent. No fancy props, costumes are limited to a few hats and a doek, and a man playing 6 characters in a tiny underground theatre that feels like a bunker.

Waseef Piekaan’s Wrongly Accused is part of the Baxter Theatre Centre’s Zabalaza Festival, winning him the Best Actor Award.  wassef-piekaan-wrongly-accused-2
In A Town Called Fokol Lutho, the performance was all about the song and dance, so much so that I did not realise that the man can act! In Wrongly Accused, Piekaan plays a small town manchild who is completely out of his depth when he is arrested for the robbery of an Indian shopkeeper. There is some song and dance in Wrongly Accused, but it is above all a vehicle of his acting ability.

If the poster and publicity shots were my only reference to this show I would have concluded that it’s either slapstick or a cheesy magician. While the images capture the extraordinary energy that he brings it fails to emanate the rough edged softness of Koek Blom or the chilling intensity of the tikkop.
The show waltzes between light comedy and dark drama. In the middle of the show Piekaan goes so deep into the gangster character that I could not see how he was going to turn it around.

Waseef Piekaan as Marius van Rooyen in Wrongly Accused Photo Credit: Noer Soeker MNS Photography

Waseef Piekaan as Marius van Rooyen in Wrongly Accused   Photo Credit: Noer Soeker MNS Photography

A downfall with many one-man shows are that too many in-jokes creep in. At opening night your friends and relatives might can themselves, while the ticket paying audience is kept out of the loop. With the exception of a frightening rendition of Leeuloop, Piekaan dodges this in Wrongly Accused.

Go see Wrongly Accused if you’re in need of comedic relief but not ready to switch off completely with 2013 not quite in the review mirror yet.

Catch Wrongly Accused at the Baxter Masambe Theatre from 19 November to 18 January 2014.

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Seether Kirstenbosch Cape Town Setlist

Seether’s setlist for Kirstenbosch was exactly the same as their gig in Moscow earlier this week, but I’ll be damned if they also called the Russian crowd befok (like they did for us, because Cape Town)!

1. Gasoline
2. 69 Tea
3. Driven Under
4. Fine again
5. Sympathetic
6. Needle And The Damage Done (Niel Young cover)
7. Here and now
8. Pass slowly
9. Breakdown
10. Broken
11. The Gift
12. Polly (Nirvana cover – the first song Shaun learned to play on guitar)
13. Rise above this
14. Fake it
15. Tonight
16. Remedy

Encore:
1. Country song

Monday night at Gourmet Boerie

A year ago, you might have associated the unassuming boerewors roll with  children’s parties, sport days and drunken munchies after a night out on Long Street. That was until it got a showy revamp by Gourmet Boerie.

I have always scoffed at the idea of a gourmet boerewors roll, yet one quiet Monday, still far from payday, we had an inkling for something different. An inkling that may have been sparked by a tweet advertising a 2-for-one special I saw earlier that day.

Gourmet Boerie Credit: Charlie Sperring/Gourmet Boerie Facebook page

Gourmet Boerie Credit: Charlie Sperring/Gourmet Boerie Facebook page

My biggest problem with these hipster joints are that they sometimes tend to be too cluttered. But Gourmet Boerie went with a clean wooden aesthetic and ran with it. The long wooden communal tables are spruced up with fynbos propped in an empty beer bottle.

To celebrate its first birthday there are  currently a few great specials at Gourmet Boerie. We went for a platter that comprised of 7 boerie sliders, large chips, 2 drinks and a mini dessert platter at R110.

A slider is essentially 2 bites of boerie. If you’re indecisive its be best thing to order on your first visit, but don’t share it if you’re very hungry. I found it filling but the Plus One had to order a full sized boerie takeaway. Gourmet-Boerie

I thought The Hangover Boerie that had just about everything, including bacon and avo, would be the tastiest, yet it was completely underwhelming. I liked The Gorgonzola (Creamy gorgonzola sauce with poached pear, caramelised pecan nuts and rocket), Chakalaka, a flavour I never would have ordered, and the Old School Boerie. The ultimate boerie happens to also be the most pretentious one of all, Pure Sophistication with caramelised onion, goats’ cheese, roast cherry tomatoes, basil pesto and rocket.

The dessert was slightly more spectacular than the establishment’s namesake. The mini desert platter consists of malva pudding, apple crumble and a piping hot milk tart. I found the apple to crumble ratio very satisfying.

While I enjoyed the super crispy shoestring chips the Plus One thought it tasted like cardboard. Something I agreed with once we got home with our Chakalaka takeaway boerie ‘meal” (R30 for a boerie chips and a Bos Iced Tea) and the chips had cooled down a little. The actual boerie was also not quite as good as those we had in store.

Gourmet Boerie’s food are at their optimal yumminess when they’re eaten in the restaurant. For fast food that will taste exactly the same the next day it’s best to go across the street to Micky Dees. For a great atmosphere, people watching and intense flavour (granted you finish the food on the spot), give Gourmet Boerie a try.

An evening onboard the Burlesque Express

MissB.have Photo by: Miss Hepburn Photography

The most fearless performers in South Africa at any given time are the ladies of burlesque. They perform an art that is extremely dependant on audience encouragement in the form of cheers, cat-calls, whistles etc. Rowdy audience behaviour is your ticket aboard the Burlesque Express… other than admission at the door of course.

We have followed Black Orchid Burlesque for a few years now. While it’s the stars like B.have and Diva Disastar that entice us to buy tickets, it’s the newbies that always fascinates me the most. Watching them perform as their confidence grows with every show is extremely satisfying.

For instance when we first saw Lucy Diamond the nerves clung tighter to her body than her corset. More than a year after we first saw her she still does not exude the confidence of B.have but she has channelled her shyness as part of her act which works very well.

BonBon Photo by: Miss Hepburn Photography

Diva Disastar introduced newbie Bon Bon as shy and demure. Dressed up as a flight stewardess she revealed her character through a short sound clip with naughty in flight announcements before launching into her routine. She was the most ‘modest’ of the bunch stopping at her high waisted panties and bra yet her routine felt thorough.The most inventive ladies in the troupe, with the skill and costumes to pull it off, is Miss B.have with her Neo Burlesque performances and the grand dame herself, Diva Star, doing a turn as Marie Antoinette.

Dear James

Dear James Photo by: Miss Hepburn Photography

I wasn’t sold on the concept of Boylesque (can men be truly sensual?) and Dear James seemed to do everything in his power to cement this. In an 18th century composer costume he sets out to teach the audience something (it wasn’t very clear what this was). This entailed ‘contacting’ the audience and ‘playing’ a tune on his keyboard tie. He went on to lose a few items of clothing which ‘climaxed’ in him partially ripping open his shirt revealing his nipples taped over. So no I’m not sold on Boylesque, but I would love to be proven wrong.

The Burlesque Express incorporated two members from The Rouge Revue which was a real treat. Penny Pinup was a beautifully expressive face. She walked on stage a secretary and left as the scene stealing rock chick right off the video of a 80s hair band.

Diva Disastar  Photo by: Miss Hepburn Photography

Dudes looking like ladies, drag queens if you will, are an extremely celebrated bunch. I have only read about the elusive parallel culture, drag kings, so experiencing it in the form of Maiden D’nude’s alter ego Casual Harry, also from The Rouge Revue, was a welcome new experience. Dressed as a rocker from the 70s Casual Harry performed to the classic rock anthem Cocaine. By the end of the line all signs of Harry was peeled away to reveal the beautiful Maiden D’nude in a feminine lacy lingerie. It was not a form of burlesque I particularly like but do find it intriguing and well thought out. But most of all it was kept to the point, only spanning the length of one song.

For a first class education into the art of burlesque it’s best to hop on the Burlesque Express. According to the schedule you’ll get off in 2 hours, but if you’re lucky it will be a whole lot sooner;)

* Photography by Miss Hepburn Photography

* Keep up to date with Black Orchid Burlesque here

Theatre Review: Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard is a musical adaptation by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Christopher Hampton of the 50s Academy Award winning movie of the same name. The story follows the faded silent movie star Norma Desmond who believes there’s opportunity to stage her return (not comeback!) to the silver screen when she meets screenwriter Joe Gillis by chance.

Sunset Boulevard2

Norma Desmond and Joe Gillis’ meet cute is as dysfunctional as their relationship would later become. His car breaks down in her Sunset Boulevard mansion’s driveway after a high speed car chase and she mistakes him for her dead monkey’s coffin guy.

Angela Kilian, an old hand at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s plays having also played in Cats and portrayed the title character in Evita, is almost too convincing as Norma Desmond. She appears to tap into the skillset of a silent movie actress by acting 80% of her character through facial expressions. The result is beautiful with a lethal dose of melancholy.

Jonathan Roxmouth plays the opportunistic Joe Gillis. His performance is more subdued than usual which is exactly what his character requires. He steps back as Kilian belts out the larger than life numbers.

Angela-Kilian

Costume designer Penny Simpson sharply manipulates the different silhouettes of the 1950s, ensuring that all the different body types were displayed to their full potential. There is one standout golden dress that is moulded onto Kilian’s body, making her look like a human Oscar statuette. The only costume which lacked construction was the negligée in the final scene which is a slight let down. Everything leading to that point has made me believe that Norma Desmond is so self-obsessed that there won’t be a single thing in her closet that doesn’t look fabulous on her, that even when she randomly grabs things out of her closet they will at the very least fit her well.

I can easily see Sunset Boulevard set in current times (I can only pray for a hip hop opera adaptation) as it’s a story that will play out in every generation as technology changes the entertainment industry and the public’s mind-set along with it. A silent film star that had been side-lined by sound in films paralleled with the diva of the jazz era who can’t keep up with Rihanna’s 10,801,626 subscribers (and 4,299,691,634 views) on YouTube.

Old Hollywood is incorporated through old footage of the time, including black and white films, projected on a large lace curtain. This allows the stage to seamlessly transform into a mansion, high speed car chase, diner and movie set in a matter of seconds. The furniture and props are changed by members of the ensemble adding to the feel of a movie set.

Jonathan-Roxmouth

Sunset Boulevard is not the play to take your children this holiday period. It is a dark and twisted musical. Not necessarily a feel-good story, yet seeing a top class cast perform it beautifully on stage does leave one with a happy heart.

Sunset Boulevard runs at Theatre on the Bay from 28 October 2013 – 4 January 2014.