Thrills on stage and screen

Jack O’Connell and Sienna Miller in the Benedict Andrews-directed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Colm Meaney also stars.


THE high-definition film of the London stage production of Tennessee Williams’s classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens at Cinema Nouveau cinemas countrywide this weekend, while Johannesburg theatre fans are excited about news that the first South African stage version of the hit 1987 film, Fatal Attraction, opens there soon.

Benedict Andrews’s Young Vic production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will be screened at Cinema Nouveau cinemas as part of National Theatre Live. The film, which runs for three hours and 15 minutes (with an interval), will have four screenings only – on March 21, and April 1, 4 and 5.

Following his hit production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Andrews’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof stars Sienna Miller alongside Jack O’Connell and Colm Meaney.

The action unfolds on a steamy night in Mississippi, when a Southern family gathers at their cotton plantation to celebrate Big Daddy’s birthday. The scorching heat is almost as oppressive as the lies they tell. Brick and Maggie dance around the secrets and sexual tensions that threaten to destroy their marriage. With the future of the family at stake, which version of the truth is real – and which will win out?

Ashley Dowds and Jo da Silva in Fatal Attraction.

As for the South African premiere of the stage production of Fatal Attraction, that stars Durban-born Ashley Dowds, Jo da Silva, Alex Tops, Jenny Stead and Jazzara Jaslyn. They are under the direction of Paula Bangles.

The play will run from April 11 to May 6 at Pieter Toerien’s main theatre at Montecasino, Johannesburg, following a season at Cape Town’s Theatre on the Bay from March 16.

Performances will be every Wednesday to Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 4pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm. Ticket prices are  R100, R130 and R200, and booking is at Computicket outlets.

Produced by Pieter Toerien in arrangement with Robert Fox and Patrick Ryecart, Fatal Attraction tells a story of obsession and revenge, and was a big-screen hit that teamed Michael Douglas and Glenn Close.

The thriller explores how a chance meeting in a bar and a casual encounter quickly becomes a living nightmare for Dan Gallagher, a successful New York lawyer, and his young family.

After spending one weekend with the gorgeous Alex Forrest, he assumes he can just walk away, but Alex is a woman who refuses to be ignored. She pursues Dan and his family with terrifying consequences.

Dowds is the star of SABC3’s Scandal and many stage successes. He is also a television presenter and director best known as a continuity presenter for SABC3, and for co-presenting the reality travel show Going Nowhere Slowly, also on SABC3.

He is also known for his role as advertising executive Andrew McBain on the soapie Scandal!, since the show began in January 2005.

Born and raised in Durban, Dowds graduated from the then-University of Natal with a BA in English, Zulu and Drama. He followed this up with an Honours degree in Drama.

Early on in his career he was a company member at Durban’s Playhouse. In the early 1990s he taught speech and drama while working at the Playhouse,and began working for radio station SAFM.

In 1999 he joined SABC3 as a continuity presenter, which greatly increased his public profile. He left in 2003 and was replaced by Graeme Richards.

He also presented the lifestyle show Life. Style. Matters and the reality competition.

The popularity of Going Nowhere Slowly inspired him to write and publish a journal documenting the second season, called Red Car Diaries. The 192-page “armchair read” was published by Struik Publishers in January 2006.

In 2002 he began playing the starring role of Roger Schickler in the children’s drama series Scout’s Safari, which aired in the US on NBC and Discovery Kids, from 2002 to 2004. Dowds appeared in all 25 episodes, over two seasons.

Other television characters he has played include Paul in’s Jozi Streets, Jason Rose in Deafinitions (, Rick Fletcher in Reignbows (, ad executive John in SABC1’s Generations, Dr Incredible in What’s Hot (M-Net) and a policeman in Khululeka, a ‘dramedy’ created by Penguin Films and aired on SABC1.

Dowds also has an extensive theatre resume, performing in plays such as Constellations, The Three Musketeers, Peter Pan, Fiddler on the Roof, Old Boys, Mousetrap, Japes and Blue/Orange. He also does voiceover and narration work for documentaries, corporate videos, television and radio commercials, animation and dubbing work, and magazine shows.

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