BILLY SUTER chats to Durban saxophonist KIRSTY VAN DER LINDE, who is among the cast of Rock ‘n’ Roll Nerds: The Piano Greats, which has its final performance today (July 15) at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof. From July 19, Kirsty will join the 10-member cast of the fun Jukebox Hits at the Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga (see my review of both shows under ‘Theatre’ on this site).
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE NEW ROCKWOOD THEATRE – AND WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PEOPLE TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEE ‘JUKEBOX HITS’?
The Rockwood Theatre, in my opinion, is a classy, upmarket venue with shows that people want to see. It’s what Durban has been missing for some time now and I believe it will do very well.
As a performer in the venue it has been amazing working with a cast who truly like and get along with each other. Also, working for the Rockwood Theatre owners, Tom and Anne Muller, has been wonderful.
Jukebox Hits is two hours of your day where you can get lost in good music performed by a really good cast. It’s suitable for all ages and for that time that you’re at the show you can just forget about the world around you and have fun.
WHAT HAS BEEN A HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR YEAR?
The first anniversary of my marriage to (drummer) Dylan van der Linde. It was just the most amazing day. We got married in the Midlands on July 8, 2017, and prepared for freezing weather and got the most perfect day. We were able to celebrate with all our loved ones in the most beautiful setting and my favourite part was that you could feel the love on the day.
YOUR HUSBAND, DRUMMER DYLAN, IS A FITNESS TRAINER BY DAY. HOW HAVE YOU BENEFITTED FROM THAT?
Dylan has taught me the importance of balance when it comes to exercise and healthy living, which has been hugely beneficial to me as exercise, before ,was quite a stressful thing that I didn’t enjoy.
I now really enjoy it and subsequently am the fittest I’ve ever been. I also have a lifelong free gym membership that includes a personal trainer. So that’s always a bonus.
WHERE, WHEN AND HOW DID YOU AND DYLAN MEET TWO MEET – AND WAS IT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT?
Dyl and I met in 2010 when we were rehearsing for a new show – actually Dylan’s first show for the Barnyard Theatre. It was definitely not love at first sight. We worked together on and off for the next three years and for some reason formed the completely wrong opinion of each other. So we actually only gave each other the odd cursory hello. Then, one night before a show, we had to talk to each other for some reason… and the rest is history.
WHAT FIVE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?
Stubborn, clumsy, loyal, sensitive, kind.
WHAT ARE FIVE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF (HOWEVER TRIVIAL) THAT PEOPLE ARE UNLIKELY TO KNOW?
I only have 50% lung function.
I keep half of my wardrobe in the back of my car, in case I get cold or decide I don’t like what I’m wearing when I get to where I’m going.
I love puzzles.
I am a Grade R teacher .
Off stage, I’m actually really quiet and don’t enjoy being the centre of attention at all.
YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT ON STAGE?
Being as clumsy as I am I have a lot of embarrassing moments. The one that really stands out though was in Pretoria, when my parents had come from Durban to watch the show.
I had this really cool sax solo and decided to end off with a back bend. But I bent so far back that I ended up on my back on the floor.
As gracefully as I could, I stood up and after the show somebody in the audience asked if that was part of the choreography, or if I had fallen over. I assured her it was definitely choreography. My parents just look away now every time I decide to do a back bend on stage.
THE MOST FAMOUS PERSON YOU HAVE MET – AND WHO WOULD YOU GIVE GOLD TO MEET?
I did a gig with PJ Powers in Botswana when I first came off the Barnyard circuit, but other than that, nobody really famous. I would give gold to meet Australian comedian Tim Minchin. He is the most phenomenal pianist and his material is very politically incorrect and really quite outrageous at times, which does appeal to my dark sense of humour.
HOBBIES, PASTIMES AND FAVOURITE THINGS?
I love baking. I find it relaxing and can bake for a whole day and be completely content. Another of my favourite things is being in my PJs. I love watching series, so making a big bowl of popcorn and lying on the couch with Howie our Great Dane, and watching Modern Family, is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. I also love reading, but only when I’m very relaxed during the school holidays.
WHAT FIVE THINGS WOULD YOU LIST UNDER ‘VASTLY OVERRATED’?
Material things as a form of self-affirmation; following latest fashion trends all the time; going to clubs; sushi; and reality TV shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST SURPRISING THING SOMEONE HAS SAID OF YOU?
On our wedding day, Dylan said in his speech that when he eventually did talk to me he realised that I was a lot deeper – and much nicer than he had originally thought, based on his opinion of how I dressed to go on stage (!).
WHAT ARE YOUR FEARS AND PHOBIAS?
Clowns, Santa, people dressed as furry characters. There has always been something about clowns that has made me feel unsettled and freaked out. Also, thunderstorms. I have had a lifelong fear of those. I used to hide under the bed as a child. Now I just put my pillow over my head. I hate loud noises!
IF YOU COULD CHANGE THREE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
I would try not to be so stubborn. I would also learn to say ‘no’ a bit more often… and I would try to persevere a bit more with things, rather than write them off because they are not perfectly done.
TWO HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER?
I have to go right back and say that working at Durban’s Dockyard Theatre with the late Stuart Mey was most certainly one of the best parts of my career. He was the first person I did shows for, when I was fresh out of varsity and didn’t know a thing. He taught me how to truly be professional and passed on a bit of his passion for doing shows.
Another highlight was a show with P J Powers in Botswana, which was really cool. I’ve never been more terrified in my life, but it turned out to be such fun and something I’ll always remember.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY FIVE THINGS FROM FIVE DIFFERENT PEOPLE, WHAT AND WHO WOULD THEY BE?
My three-year-old niece Sarah’s ability to live totally in the moment and be completely carefree; Dylan’s ability to be absolutely non-judgmental of people or situations; and my mother’s ability to forgive quickly and not hold a grudge.
Also, my granny’s longevity – I hope I can get to 87 and be as on the ball as she is – and my brother-in-law Kevin’s calmness in every situation (nothing flusters him).
WHAT IS THE WORST TROUBLE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN IN?
It was in Grade One. It was early in the year and my teacher, Miss Couzens, had just taught us the “ck” sound. My best friend at the time was called Xolo. We sat next to each other and on his name card on his desk he wrote “fu….”
Being so proud of my new blending skills, I sounded it out, and when I realised what I’d, I said it even louder.
Miss Couzens wasn’t at all impressed and I had to stand on my chair. As if this wasn’t enough, my dad, who was the deputy principal of the school, happened to walk past, and caught me on my chair.
THE MOST FRIGHTENING THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU?
I was on a flight from Joburg to Durban and, because I loved flying, had organised a window seat. This particular flight was at 6pm, a perfect time for thunderstorms in the summer.
During the flight we flew straight into one, and it was fine until the flight attendants put everything down and ran for their seats. The plane was bumping up and down because of the turbulence, and all I could see was lightning outside the window.
I haven’t enjoyed flying much since.
FIVE OF YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE SONGS?
Michael Buble’s version of You’ve Got a Friend in Me, Rachel Plattern’s Better Place, Mike Love’s Distant Travellers, The Beatles’s Come Together and Sara Barellies’s Love Song.
THE BEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER HAD? AND THE WORST?
The best compliment I ever received was being told I would go the extra mile to help others, even if it was to my own detriment. The worst was from a friend’s maid. She told me: “Ooh, you have such nice, big legs… and you’re so fat”.
WHAT ALTERNATIVE CAREER PATHS MIGHT YOU HAVE CONSIDERED?
I would’ve loved to have been a patisserie chef. I actually looked into studying to be one a few years back, so maybe one day I’ll have my own little cake and coffee shop.
Also, despite my fear of thunderstorms, I’ve always found the weather and weather patterns fascinating. Meteorology has always been something I’ve been interested in, but I could never do the maths to go with it.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
That is something I’m still figuring out! However , at the moment I think the meaning of life is making happy, healthy relationships a priority over material things, taking care of your health, and living a life that leaves a lasting legacy for your loved ones.