Winter’s chill will be kept at bay this year with a packed season of sensational storytelling, singing and all-round brilliant Afrikaans theatre at the Pieter Toerien Montecasino Studio Theatre in Fourways, Gauteng.
Inspiring and inimitable producer Kosie Smit, well-known for his contribution to the Afrikaans theatre industry, is at the helm of a much anticipated theatre experience that, apart from warming the cockles, will serve as a heart-rending and humorous celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Kosie House of Theatre.
Pieter Toerien’s theatre and Kosie Smit’s “home of theatre” offer a perfect combination of place and personality, but it’s the productions and their sheer scale of variety and quality that get the pulses racing.
Altyd in my Drome (Always in my Dreams), Die Kaap is weer HOLMS (The Cape is HOLMS Again), Oskar en die pienk tannie (Oscar and the Pink Auntie), Dop (Drink), en Liewe Heksie en die Sonneblom (Liewe Heksie and the Sunflower) will make for a veritable festival fandango if ever there was one.
This year’s season of awe-inspiring Afrikaans theatre at Montecasino kicks off on 5 July 2016 with Altyd in my Drome, a reworked musical of legendary filmmaker Pierre de Wet’s classic from 1952.
Back then bioscopes were chock-a-block with audiences eager to witness the endearing antics of Al Debbo and Frederik Burgers, and Altyd in my Drome will be a nostalgic flashback of sorts for those old enough to remember the hilarious duo while also reeling in younger audiences.
The story, of a struggling composer yearning for inspiration, has universal echoes but wouldn’t be complete without a double-dealing friend and a hellfire agent breathing rank sulphur at the composer’s inability to deliver a moving musical.
The composer, Ben, thankfully finds true inspiration in the curvaceous beauty of a dashing inamorata, but his conniving friend, Fanie, constantly works his scheming magic as a perfect foil for his rose-tinted desires.
It’s a great story, filled with musings, mirth and musical flurries that even has
Cupid, armed with bow and arrow, dancing to the tune of our love-struck Lothario.
Starring the exceptionally talented Willem Botha, Grant Towers, Michelle Botha, Tessa Denton, Sanli Jooste and Darius Engelbrecht, Altyd in my Drome will remind young and old how important it is to have always have someone in your dreams.
On stage until 21 August 2016, Altyd in my Drome will make way for Die Kaap is weer HOLMS on 23 August 2016.
Holm is a true one-woman tour de force, full of skits and rip-roaring reflections on her delightfully dysfunctional family.
Its predecessor, Marion Holm vir Beginners, unleashed a frenzy of fun on audiences last year. With this follow-up, Holm once again serves up loveable lashings of hilarity as she turns life on its head, showing that a sad face is but a smile upside down.
Holm’s quirky storytelling makes for quintessential entertainment. It will be performed until 4 September 2016, and promises to put a jump in your step, just in time for the onset of spring.
Flighty fun, however, will make way on 6 September 2016 for one of South Africa’s most loved and acclaimed actresses, Sandra Prinsloo.
Her performance as a 10-year-old, terminally ill boy in Oskar en die pienk tannie made for gut-wrenching theatre at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) in Oudtshoorn, and deservedly bagged her a KKNK Kanna Award for Best Actress. It also received Kannas for Best Production and Best Director.
It’s a visceral story of a boy’s bravery when faced by imminent death, and yet it shimmers with spiritual luminosity as Oskar makes light of his situation.
Just read what has been written of this pathos-filled production: “Every now and then, about once a year, along comes a show that one doesn’t dare miss out on. It’s the sort of theatre performance that slips past your blind spot, making its disarming message so much more powerful. It digs deep, exploring pain in all its facets, forcing you to look again, over your shoulder. Its riveting take on the fragility of life, and the preciousness of moments, doesn’t fail to find target and most people who have met Oskar leave feeling richer for spending time with someone about to lose his life.”
In the hands of a lesser actress Oskar could easily have been sentimental, a lachrymose lad, but Prinsloo becomes every bit the believable young, hang-on-to-life little hero ruminating on and reminiscing about adults, love, hormones, God and mortality.
It’s not-to-be-missed, absolutely not, and neither are the tissues.
Finishing on 25 September 2016, Oskar en die pienk tannie will make way for Dop, a bar, beer and “bro” play about two men looking for the meaning of life through lots of laughter.
Sozzled but shining with searing intensity, it stars Frank, a barfly, and Tim, agent of Bacchus, in a, well, two-man drink-sploration of regret, rain forests and life’s tendency to serve lemons without tequila, particularly when it’s needed the most, and a famous case of fine arts burglary from 1990.
André Odendaal and Wilhelm van der Walt are simply superb in this revelatory rendition of men in search of meaning, and audiences will only have time until 23 October 2016 to be thoroughly thrilled by Dop’s devilish dance around all sorts of issues.
Best of all, at the Pieter Toerien Montecasino Theatre liquor (from the bar of course) is allowed in the house, so you can enjoy watching Dop with a drink in hand – a double of sorts if you will.
Last, but certainly not the least, is one of the most sweetest, most eternally memorable characters from the pantheon of Afrikaans pantomime and childhood pleasure – Liewe Heksie en die Sonneblom, a musical puppet production originally created by Verna Vels and Hansie Visagie.
Surrounded by her little beasties, she’s better than the best teddy bear, and one can’t help but follow her on her hapless adventures into Blommeland (land of flowers).
Like Haas Das se Nuuskas, Liewe Heksie attained cult status in the 1960s and 1970s and has regularly received a dust-off for younger audiences since. It’s original creators, Verna Vels and Hansie Visagie, never anticipated what a phenomenon their little pixie witch and her adorable friends would become.
Accompanied by cutie-pie cat Mattewis, good-as-gold little gnome friend Blommie Kabouter, and the ever so stoical Koning Rosekrans, the Pieter Toerien Montecasino Theatre will to be transformed into a family-friendly zone of note.
Of course, an army of Liewe Heksie fans is exactly what’s needed, as the evil Geel Heks (yellow witch), and her diabolical sidekicks, Kerrie and Borrie, will certainly do everything in their power to throw a spanner in the works.
Ending on 27 November 2016, the Afrikaans season for 2016 at the Pieter Toerien Montecasino Theatre is set to be a memorable one. Intrigue, introspection, humour, heart-rending stories, as well as colourful and cleaved-to-the-bone characters and classic family entertainment will all usher in warmth over the course of almost five months.
Says Kosie Smit: “Whether it’s through the adaptation of Altyd in my Drome for a contemporary audience, or the sheer immersive heartbreak of Oskar en die pienk tannie; we try and bring to life, for the stage, everything that makes us human.
“In the guts-spilling unburdening of Dop’s characters, in the humour of Marion Holm, even in Liewe Heksie, people will find something to relate to, to laugh at, and to think about.”
For sure, celebrating Smit’s decade of producing Afrikaans theatre could scarcely be done in better fashion.
Says Mark Sage, manager of the Pieter Toerien Montecasino Theatre: “We are thrilled to host this fantastic season of Afrikaans productions presented by Kosie and his team.
“This continues a wonderful collaboration that started a few years ago on our Studio Stage and has built over the years. The aim was to target an Afrikaans audience and to give them shows that they would like and support. Year upon year the audiences and support for the Afrikaans shows has grown and we are now able to stage and entire season of shows for the audiences at Montecasino.
“Kosie and his team are simply the best at what they do and we have found that their productions are world class and always feature the best Afrikaans performers in the business. Looking at the line-up for the 2016 season, one can’t help but be excited – it is Kosie’s best yet and our audiences are going to love the shows!”