……BY BILLY SUTER……
DURBAN actress Kaylee McIroy, eldest daughter of seasoned local theatre darlings Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert, is among the cast of two new, original stage musicals to be premiered soon.
The productions, La Familia and Call Me a Fool, are the culmination of the inaugural Cabaret and Beyond Festival which, staged in Durban recently, tapped and promoted new musical theatre writing talent.
La Familia by Ntlantla Swana and Khanyisa Sigwanda, as well as Call Me a Fool by Leah Mari, are produced by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in association with Mandela Bay Theatre Complex.
They will play together as a double bill with an interval at the Athenaeum in Gqebera (Port Elizabeth) from March 24 to 26. There will then be a limited engagement at Durban’s Seabrooke’s Theatre, DHS, at 7pm from Thursday, March 31, to Saturday, April 2, and also at 11am on Sunday, April 3. Tickets for the Durban run are available online for R100 via Webtickets.
The acclaimed Janice Honeyman has provided dramaturgical support to the two new musical theatre writers, whose works are now in rehearsal..
Internationally recognised playwright and director Philisiwe Twijnstra is directing La Familia, a show about the pressures of being a firstborn in a South African township family.
Minenhle Sikhosana takes the role of Sihle, who must find ways to navigate the pressures from her family while trying to keep up with Lisa, her sassy schoolfriend, played by Kaylee McIlroy.
Mom and Dad are played by Sam Hlope, known for her role as Chunks on TV’s Isithembiso, and Mduduzi Nombela, seen in TV’s the Imbewu: The Seed.
The musical by Durban’s Leah Mari, Call Me a Fool, is a modern-day tale about the risks of falling in love too quickly, seen through the eyes of Amy and Zara, played by Roshanda Lewis and Kaylee McIlroy.
Roshanda has been seen in KickstArt musical productions and is a recent AFDA graduate. Kaylee McIlroy is a graduated from UCT Drama School and appeared in Woolworths and Horn of Sorrow, which recently toured KwaZulu-Natal. Musical director and pianist Evan Roberts took the cast through the score with Steven Stead, of KickstArt fame, directing.
Project manager Roland Perold, who also musically directs La Familia, says the rehearsal period is keeping everyone on their toes: “These are one-act musicals, each 50 minutes long. The writers’ and composers’ styles are very different, so there’s great variety emanating from the two rehearsal spaces.
“The audience is going to get a lot of bang for their buck seeing these vastly different-sounding, and different-looking, productions”.