Ideal accompaniments to lazy Cape Town days - Times LIVE

06 December 2013 5:29 AM

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After a successful Johannesburg run, the local production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard opened at Cape Town's Theatre on the Bay last month, and has recently concluded its 100th performance. Directed by Paul Warwick Griffin, it reunites the creative team that brought audiences Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, Chess and Evita.

Jonathan Roxmouth, best known for his award-winning role as the lead in Phantom of the Opera, is compelling as Joe Gillis, a jaded writer struggling to make a name for himself in the cynical world of Hollywood.

Angela Kilian, who played the title role in Evita, shines as Norma Desmond, a former star of silent movies desperate to make a return to the screen (and slightly delusional in the belief that her glory days aren't done).

In adapting Billy Wilder's film, Lloyd Webber created more than a dozen songs. These include slick numbers for the ensemble (Every Movie's a Circus), charming duets (Girl Meets Boy, The Perfect Year), and soaring solos for the leads (Sunset Boulevard).

In a trimmed "bonsai" adaptation, there's always a risk that the music and performances don't scale down accordingly, leaving the audience overwhelmed by high intensity on a small stage. And yet this production retains a slick feel, with the ensemble doubling as stagehands across a smoky set.

With clever video projections and sumptuous costumes, Sunset Boulevard pays tribute to the golden days of Tinseltown.

Madame Zingara's Theatre of Dreams has entertained South African audiences since early 2007.

While the original show celebrated the miracle of life and the magical journey we're all on, After Forever is about a timeless world of folklore and myth.

This legendary land contains a host of intricately dressed acrobats, aerialists, contortionists and the like, performing in what was originally built in Belgium in 1928 - a 25m velvet big top. It is one of the last remaining antique mirror tents in the world. Stepping inside, you'll forget that you're in the middle of a parking lot - you could be in a whole new world.

And let's not forget about the food, a feast in every sense of the word. The menu changes, but dinner on the night I went included a chocolate chilli fillet as well as a platter of chocolate brownies, chocolate spring rolls, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate tiramisu for dessert. The meal is served so quickly that I can't help but wonder what sorcery and enchantment prevented a constant crashing of plates.

What I loved most is the way the show blurs the line between performers, audience and staff. Many guests arrived early for face painting and other accessories so they could be a part of the magic.

Waiters and waitresses dragged some of them on stage to dance at certain points throughout the night.

It is quite clear why people say Madame Zingara is like a big extended family.


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