Scrapbook: Durban theatre, 1997

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Every now and then I dip into scrapbooks that piled up during  my 24 years as Arts Editor of The Mercury newspaper in Durban and, just for fun, dig out reviews and interviews from yesteryear. Today we go back nearly 20 years, to April 1997.

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BY BILLY SUTER

Twenty years ago… pictured above is my April 1997 review in The Mercury of the late Geoffrey Sutherland’s spectacular, ahead-of-its time Queen at the Opera. This review was of the ‘best of’ touring production which had then returned to Durban’s Playhouse Opera after eight months of touring.

Originally conceived and staged at the same theatre by Sutherland in 1990, Queen at the Opera spawned a sequel, The Show Must Go On, then this “best of” compilation which first toured nationally in 1995.

It starred Joseph Clark, Luciano Zuppa, a long-locked Paul Warwick-Griffin (previously seen at The Playhouse as Che in Evita) and Duncan Royce, with a guest appearance (in the Barcelona showstopper) by Sally June Gain.

The show featured costumes and production designs by Andrew Botha.

The scrapbook clipping below, also from April 1997, is my review of The War Years, a Durban supper theatre show saluting war-time hits and memories. It was staged at 214 St Thomas Road (otherwise known as the Norwegian Hall), in Morningside.

Devised and directed by Themi Venturas it teamed Shelley McLlean, Gary McKenzie, John Didlick, Caroline Smart, Anthony Stonier and Vanessa Skaer.

Interestingly, the last paragraph shows the ticket price was R30 with a three-course meal served for another R45. Ah, the good old days, the good old days….

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