……BY BILLY SUTER…..
DURBAN’S Playhouse Company will lift the wraps on two glossy treats for dance fans this festive season – one showcasing ballet, the other Eastern dance – and has also scheduled an excellent drama offering, the latest play from Paul Slabolepszy.
Even more exciting is that SoSuterBill has four tickets to give away to one lucky winner, for the ballet spectacle, It’s Beautiful at the Ballet. See the end of this post for details on how to enter this competition.
The Playhouse Company, in association with the South African National Dance Trust, will present It’s Beautiful at The Ballet at The Playhouse at 2pm and 6pm on December 22, and at 3pm on December 23. Tickets range in price from R100 to R150 and booking is via Webtickets.
Fresh from a triumphant season in Cape Town in October, where it met with standing ovations, It’s Beautiful at The Ballet will be performed to live accompaniment by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Eddie Clayton.
The production features a selection of pieces by leading SA choreographers, including Veronica Paeper, Sean Bovim, Adele Blank and Dane Hurst, “curated as a mixed programme of wow-factor ballet entertainment,” says a Playhouse spokesman.
This production has actor Ashley Dowds threading the different dance works together by prefacing each with quirky dance-related quotes, such as Twyla Tharp’s “Dancing is like a bank robbery; it takes split-second timing”.
Eastern Dance and Comedy Explosion features Durban’s Nateshwar Dance Academy and Kathak dancer Manesh Maharaj. They will ring the changes on the magic of Bollywood, and classical Indian dance, spiced with the comic clout of stage and screen star, Jailoshini Naidoo. Performances are scheduled for December 22 and 23 December.
The biggest drawcard of the season, for me, is Slabolepszy’s play, Fordburg’s Finest, fresh from a season in Johannesburg. Critically acclaimed, this two-hander is directed by Bobby Heaney and teams Slabolepszy with Chi Mhende (of Generations fame).
A powerful piece, the play entertains while probing real issues of life. It is a story of homecoming, healing and hope. The setting is South Africa in the summer of 1996. Two very different worlds collide in the most unexpected of places – Fordsburg, Johannesburg.
Thandeka (Mhende), a New York librarian, decides it is time to return to her South African roots. All she has to accompany her on the journey are stories, images, half-formed pictures in her head, of her homeland and her people, described to her in loving detail, long ago, by her now-dead mother and father.
The single, most highly anticipated event of Thandeka’s homecoming pilgrimage is a visit to the house in which she was born. Arriving at 74 Pioneer Street in Fordsburg, clutching an out-of-date and faded street map, she is saddened to find the homestead no longer there.
In its place, is a run-down used-car lot, owned by “Foxy Freddie” Volschenk (Slabolepszy), a convivial middle-aged white South African, ex-police reservist and lover of second-hand cars.
As a fascinating evening unfolds, fluctuating alternately between wild humour and infinite sadness, dark pain, and scorching shafts of madness, Thandi is given more than just a taste of what life must have been like for her beleaguered family in those not-so distant days.
Fordsburg’s Finest, featuring a great set by Durban’s Greg King, will be performed at 6.30pm on Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3, and at 2.30pm on Sunday, December 4. Tickets cost only R100 and are available now via WebTickets.
Also in the festive season line-up at The Playhouse are:
Soiree (November 27) – a programme of vocal and choral items by Handel, Mnomiya and others, performed by eThekwini’s multi-award-winning Clermont Community Choir, accompanied at the piano by Dr David Smith.
Mbongeni in Concert (December 10) – Mbongeni Ngema, of Sarafina fame, joins a band, dancers and other singers to highlight songs from his many stage musicals and other favourites from his back catalogue of hits.
Ihubo (December 17) – Mbuso Khoza joins the iJadu le Afrika Ensemble in a production which details the origins of this ancient Nguni musical genre, and its impact on posterity.
Christmas Carols Concert (December 23) – The Playhouse Chorale, renowned for its performances in Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation, is conducted by Juan Burgers in this programme of carols. The audience is welcome to sing along at this festive event.
WIN SHOW TICKETS… WIN SHOW TICKETS… WIN SHOW TICKETS
Care to put yourself in line to be the winner of FOUR TICKETS to Beautiful at The Ballet at Durban’s Playhouse at 2pm on Thursday, December 22? You simply have to be a follower of the SoSuterBill site to win. At no cost.
If you are not already a follower, simply leave your email address in the space provided towards the end of the cover page of this site, sosuterbill.com (access the cover page by clicking ‘Latest Posts’ on the menu bar).
You will then be a follower, and receive email notification whenever I file a new story.
Once you have subscribed (there is no cost), send your NAME and PHONE NUMBER via email (NOT THIS SITE’S CONTACT FORM) to firstname.lastname@example.org and place the words ‘BALLET COMPETITION’ in the subject field.
Note that the competition closes at 6pm on Wednesday, November 30, and the lucky winner will be contacted soon after. His/her name will be posted in this spot thereafter. (The winner of four tickets was Philippa Savage).
Also note that tickets may not be exchanged for another performance and that the prize is for tickets only (not travel and/or accommodation should this prove necessary).
NOTE: PLEASE READ ENTRY DETAILS CAREFULLY AS SOME PEOPLE ARE ENTERING COMPETITIONS INCORRECTLY.
ALSO NOTE THAT ONLY ONE ENTRY PER SUBSCRIBER WILL BE CONSIDERED.