It’s all the songs of your childhood brought together into one magical evening of joyous nostalgia. Songs from Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Winnie The Pooh and many more.

“One joyous hit after another!” The Times London

Directed and Choreographed by Shelley Lothian

30 July – 22 August Theatre on The Bay

Over the past two years sensational pianist Rocco de Villiers (kortbroek, langkouse) and much-loved conductor Richard Cock have sparked off each other at several concerts, and it seemed inevitable that this would become something more. They have put together a musical extravaganza, which will deliver an astral explosion of music, fun and anecdotes about life, the arts and South Africa. With song and captivating piano playing they take you on a journey you will not forget in a hurry… from Tchaikovsky to Chopin, from Zambezi to Sarie Marais with singing, whistling, and piano duets and of course featuring music by Rocco de Villiers himself, this journey is cheerful, poignant and entertaining. It will be a “happening”, so don’t miss it!

No under 13’s

A gripping, powerful play that deals with complex family relationships and the consequences of unresolved trauma. BORDERLINE, written by South Africa`s most prolific and award-winning playwright, is shot through with dark humour and surprising twists and turns! 
Businessman Raymond Kruger (Coleman) and his wife of less than two years, Wellness and Beauty shop owner Faith Dlamini (Job), are in the process of emigrating to Canada. As the only child of a single parent, Faith has foreseen the emotional impact this move will inevitably have on both her and her doting mother, and prepares for it by tackling the issue of loss and separation ahead.
Raymon’s situation is entirely different. His mother is deceased, his sister lives in the UK and he and his abusive father (Slabolepszy), a 1970’s SA Border War veteran living in the Western Cape, have not spoken to each other in over twenty years.
On the eve of their departure, faith convinces her husband to reach out and make peace with the old man who, unable to deal with his own demons back in the day, made the lives of all those in his orbit a perpetual torment.
An exciting new South African play, not to be missed.
ANTONY COLEMAN, LESEDI JOB and PAUL SLABOLEPSZY
Directed by BOBBY HEANEY

 

PAUL SLABOLEPSZY`s new play BORDERLINE Directed by BOBBY HEANEY with ANTONY COLEMAN, LESEDI JOB and PAUL SLABOLEPSZY 

All Ages

 

VR Theatrical presents

Willy Russel’s

SHIRLEY VALENTINE 

Starring Natasha Sutherland

Directed By Gina Shmukler

STUDIO THEATRE

From 1 May

Shirley Valentine is an award-winning British one-woman play by Willy Russell.

Shirley is a bored, middle-aged housewife, trapped in a stale, loveless marriage.  Her children are all grown up and she frequently talks to the wall in her kitchen while preparing her husband’s regular evening meal of egg and chips.  Shirley feels stuck in a rut and finds solace in her daily glass of wine as she muses over the lack of excitement in her life.  When her best friend asks her to go to Greece with her for 2 weeks, Shirley jumps at the chance with a mix of exhilaration and jittery nerves.  Leaving a note for her husband that simply reads “Gone to Greece – Back in two weeks”, Shirley leaves for her holiday……

 

Running Time:  Approx. 2 hours. (inclusive of 20 min interval)

PG:  Adult themes

Pieter Toerien presents

Graham Hopkins

Sharon Spiegel-Wagner

Ashley Dowds

and introducing Garion Dowds

in

Agatha Christie’s WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION

Directed By Alan Swerdlow

According to her autobiography, Witness for the Prosecution was one of Agatha Christie’s favourites of all her works, stating: ‘One night at the theatre stands out in my memory especially; the first night of Witness for the Prosecution. I can safely say that that was the only first night I have enjoyed… It was one of my plays that I like best myself.’

Chester Missing is SA’s most famous puppet, and Conrad Koch, his ventriloquist, is an internationally acclaimed comedian with a Master’s Degree in anthropology. They were the first winners of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s anti-racism award. Chester even went to court fighting racism.
Chester Missing wants to tell you how to end racism, but before he can he needs to ask the guy who is making him talk some tough questions. In this hilarious show Chester gets Conrad to face his own privilege, and how apartheid shaped his own life. It’s personal, honest, informative, interactive and side-splittingly funny. A seriously funny show that’ll make you laugh and think.

STUDIO THEATRE
30 May – 14 June

Pieter-Dirk Uys is Bambi Kellermann. The show is called ‘Never Too Naked’. The scene is Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Studio Theatre from 6 to 24 May 2020.

Angola may have richest woman on the continent, but South Africa has its most famous white woman – Evita Bezuidenhout. She also has a younger sister, Bambi Kellermann, who is the first person to encourage fake news about herself, knowing that the truth would be too unbelievable.

Uys has always been careful to balance his two most famous creatures: Mrs Bezuidenhout, part of the culture of her land since 1981 and true to her Afrikaner roots and ego, has no sense of humour and regards irony as an enemy; Madame Kellermann on the other hand wears her humour as an expensive aura and brandishes her irony as a successful weapon of mass distraction.

While waiting on the stage of Pieter Toerien’s Monte Studio Theatre for the arrival of her sister, Bambi shares the ups and downs of a life well-lived and loves well-shared; a boeremeisie, who started her long walk to freedom by leaving Bethlehem in the Orange Free State for Vienna in Austria. She was dazzled by the big world, hiding her fears behind her new underworld creation called Bambi. Yes, she was an uber-stripper on the Reperbahn in Hamburg during the 1960’s. In other words: naked. Yes, she was hailed as one of the grand horizontals of the Northern Hemisphere during most of the last century – usually also naked except for her Chanel No 5 perfume.  As in most fairy tales, she marries a German aristocrat; as in most true horrors, he turns out to be a nightmare.

Evita Bezuidenhout’s lawyers have told Bambi’s lawyer that as reconciliation is the only solution for the future of South Africa, she and her sister must lead by example and publicly reconcile. They haven’t spoken to each other for over 30 years.
“What a relief,” giggles the former stripper. “The lawyers warn that the next time we will be together in the same room, one of us will be in a box. If Evita Bezuidenhout is in that box and I walk into the room, she will get up and leave!”

Don’t wait till that happens. Come and be the witnesses at this impeachment of the most famous white woman in South Africa by her most infamous sister. Never too naked? Keep that in mind. You might find quite a surprise in store.

 

Alice in Wonderland

 

27 February – 22 March

PLEASE NOTE:

Age appropriateness is 10 and under!

70 mins

 

Follow the white rabbit and come face to face with the blue caterpillar and the grinning Cheshire cat.  Have tea with the maddening Mad Hatter and play croquet with the tricky Queen of Hearts.  Get ready to go on an adventure with Alice as Lewis Carroll’s much-loved classic is brought to life with a fun and funky flair in this sparkling new production devised and directed by Neka da Costa.

Suddenly the Storm

 

Suddenly the Storm, Paul Slabolepszy’s highly acclaimed award-winning play is set in the far East Rand, the home of an ageing ex-cop and his much younger wife.  A Storm approaches…  Namhla Gumede, born on 16 June 1976 arrives, seeking answers to questions that have remained buried for 40 long years.  What begins as a smouldering dark comedy turns suddenly into a roller-coaster ride of startling revelations, of rage and recrimination, before the storm finally breaks.

This is theatre that throws up a whirlwind of mixed emotions – greed, love, loss and healing – touching on distinctly South African topics that make this country so rich and rewarding for those who can brave its storms.

The production is directed by Bobby Heaney.  The experience and proven track record of both Slabolepszy and Heaney coming together once again creates the perfect storm of talent – powerful acting, inspired writing and incisive direction – promising to make this new production a truly memorable event.

17-27 June Theatre on The Bay Cape Town

Suddenly The Storm contains strong language and is recommended for 14+ age group

“This play will blow your mind and keep you transfixed….” -Diane de Beer-The Star Tonight

“Explosive, unexpected, satisfying and provocative..this is a play that offers real theatre, but also opens a door-to those who did not live it-to the realities and pain of 1976…Paul Slabolespszy delivers a towering performance…” Jenny de Klerk-Saturday Star

“Powerful and thought-provoking…this play will stay with you for a very long time…Slabolepszy is sharp. Stuurman deep and mysterious, while Weir-Smith delivers a full person with all her quirks and eccentricities…” Paul Boekkooi-Beeld

“Impeccable, compelling..this production crackles with energy under Bobby Heaney’s guiding hand…the perfect storm…” Peter feldman-Theatre Buzz

“Powerful and moving…a work of genius….” Redi Hlabi-Talk Radio 702

“This is serious drama..soaked through with the damaging legacy of apartheid…the play delivers a twist that both pleases and surprises…director Bobby Heaney keeps everything fast and tight..” Lesley Stones-The Daily Maverick

“Suddenly the Storm is an important and beautifully written work..Shakespearean splendour in this tale of exile and identity…” Robyn Sassen Blog

Running time: 110 minutes No Interval

Pieter Toerien presents

THE PRODUCERS

Winner Of The Most Tony Awards Ever – 12 Awards, Including Best Musical”

 

TOUR DATES:

Pieter Toerien’s Theatre On The Bay from 4 February  – 28 March, 2020

Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from 4 April 2020 – 31 May, 2020

www.computicket.co.za

 

ABOUT THE SHOW: 

Based on the hilarious 1968 film, Mel Brooks’ The Producers is a laugh out-loud, outrageous, crowd-pleasing musical-comedy that has been a smash hit since its 2001 debut.

Fading Broadway producer Max Bialystok (played by Alan Committie) is desperate to get to the top of his profession again, and finds an unlikely ally in mousy accountant Leo Bloom (Richard White), who predicts that one could make far more money with a flop of a show than with a hit. Together, the two set out to produce the worst musical ever to hit Broadway. Unfortunately for them, their show is a huge hit! With no shortage of show-stopping musical numbers, and Brooks’ signature humor keeping audiences in stitches, The Producers is definitely far from a flop.

Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan

Lyrics by Mel Brooks

Music by Mel Brooks, Doug Besterman and Glen Kelly

 

CAST:

Alan Committie as Max Bialystock

Richard White as Leo Bloom

Terence Bridgett as Roger DeBris

Earl Gregory as Carmen Ghia

Philip Schnetler as Stormtrooper

Schoeman Smit as Franz Liebkind

Raquel Munn as Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yansen Tallen Hallen Svaden

Claire Glover as Hold Me-Touch Me

Ensemble – Michele La Trobe, Devin Butterworth, Nathan Muller, Joshua Van Niekerk, Nicolette Fernandes & Nadine Suliaman

 

CREATIVE TEAM:

Directed by Joseph Pitcher

Musical Direction by Garth Tavares

Choreography by Duane Alexander

Costume Designs by Penny Simpson

Set Designs by Michael Mitchell

 

MUSICAL NUMBERS:

 

“Opening Night”, “The King Of Broadway”, We Can Do It”, “I Wanna Be A Producer”, “Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop”, “Keep It Gay”, “Springtime For Hitler”, “Betrayed” and many more…

Richard White (Leo Bloom), Raquel Munn (Ulla) and Alan Committie (Max Bialystock) are set to star in next year’s ‘The Producers’ along with Earl Gregory (KINKY BOOTS), Terence Bridgett (ISIDINGO) and a star-studded South African cast.

 

The Producers:
Max Bialystock, the one ­time king of Broadway producer is hungry to strike it rich, and Leo Bloom, an accountant with dreams of someday becoming a theatre producer, discover that they could get richer by producing a flop than a hit and start by finding the worst show, worst director, and worst actors. When their new production, “Springtime for Hitler,” turns out to be a smash success, the plan is thrown off and the partners lives are thrown into chaos…

4 February – 14 March – The Theatre on The Bay Cape Town

3 April – 31 May – Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre

 

Read: THE PRODUCERS-The funniest musical in the world!

Mzansi Ballet presents

THE QUEEN SHOW

Main Theatre – 8 to 19 January 2020

Choreography By Angela & Michael Revie

Directed By Dirk Badenhorst

Read: ‘The QUEEN Show’ will ROCK YOU!

HERE’S TO YOU – The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook

RETURN SEASON BY HUGE DEMAND: 31 Jan 2020 – 8 March 2020 JHB/ 2 – 25 April CT

Presented By VR Theatrical by arrangement with SAMRO

Fall in love with Simon and Garfunkel all over again in this dynamic and uplifting musical journey through more than 20 classic hits including – BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER, CECILIA, THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE, SCARBOROUGH FAIR and MRS ROBINSON

HERE’S TO YOU Is performed by a stellar all South African cast of 8 talented singers who all play musical instruments. Under the Musical Directorship of Wessel Odendaal, the cast is lead by Josh Ansley (#thevoiceSA2017 Runner-up) on guitar with Ashleigh Butcher on Banjo/Guitar/Ukelele, Daniel Geddes on Keyboards, Hanna So on Piano/Violin/Cello, Justin Swartz on Guitar/Vocal Percussion, Phindile Dube on Percussion and Sanli Jooste on Cello.

The show features thrillingly fresh, yet faithful re-interpretations of Simon & Garfunkel`s evergreen songs, blending nostalgia and imagination, so that generations, young and old can discover the magic of their music as if for the very first time.

A NOT-TO-BE-MISSED MUSICAL PRODUCTION.

BOOK NOW! TICKETS SELLING FAST!

Celebrating 65 years of Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP.

It’s the whodunnit of the century and an institution! It has spanned twelve American Presidents and twelve British Prime Ministers and no one can tell you why. Even the authoress was unable to explain it’s success. And here it is once again on our stage. This time directed by British actor and director, Jonathan Tafler and starring West End star Mark Wynter as Mr Paravicini.

Also starring are: Melissa Haiden, Mark Sykes, Matthew Lotter, Michelle Maxwell, Malcolm Terrey, Shannyn Fourie and Aidan Scott.

The scene is set when a group of people gathered in a guest house, Monkswell Manor, are cut off by snow.

They discover that there is a murderer in their midst; but who can it be?

One by one the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts until the identity of the murderer and the motive are finally revealed in a nail-biting climax.

THE MOUSETRAP runs at The Theatre on The Bay until 19 January and at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from 23 January through 3 March 2019.

Read what the Cape Town press are saying about the show here:

Weekender

Danie Botha Litnet

 

TANTSOR

A Double Bill: Nijinsky’s War & Nureyev

Performed by Ignatius Van Heerden

23 Jan – 10 Feb

Studio Theatre, Montecasino

Age Restriction: 14+ “Mature Content”

 

Take a moment to meet our three young actresses who get to play the converted role of Matilda.

Kitty, Lilla and Morgan spent some time with Bethany Dickson who plays Miss Honey and Mpume Mayiyane who plays Mrs Phelps at the Montecasino Bird Park in Johannesburg.

Matilda – The Musical is now playing at the Teatro at Montecasino, in Johannesburg until 2 December and then the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town from 11 December until 13 January.

Bookings at https://online.computicket.com/web/event/matilda_the_musical/1211508460/0/0

Pieter Toerien Productions and GWB Entertainment present The Royal Shakespeare Company Production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda – The Musical.

www.pietertoerien.co.za
www.gwbentertainment.com

Pieter Toerien Presents

The South African Original Premiere of

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

Based on the novel by Mark Haddon

Adapted by Simon Stephens

Directed by Paul Warwick-Griffin (Jesus Christ Superstar, Sunset Boulevard, Hair, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita, Chess, High School Musical)

Scenic & Costumes by Tina Driedijk (Cabaret, The Rocky Horror Show)

Lighting Design by Gareth Hewitt Williams (Evita, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)

Original Music Compositions & Soundscapes by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder (The Rocky Horror Show, King Kong, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cabaret, High School Musical)

Starring Kai Brummer, Ashley Dowds, Jenny Stead, Lesoko Seabe, Kate Normington, Liz Szymczak, Dylan Edy, Nicholas Ellenbogen, Genna Galloway and Clayton Evertson.

 Cast (In order of appearance)

Christopher Boone – Kai Brummer

Kate Normington – Mrs Shears/ Mrs Gascoyne/Voice One/ Woman On Train/Woman On Heath/ Shopkeeper

Lesoko Seabe – Siobhan/ Ensemble

Dylan Edy – Policeman One/ Voice Two/ Mr Thompson/ Rhodri/ Man Behind /Roger Man/ Drunk Two/Shopkeeper

Nicholas Ellenbogen – Duty Sergeant/ Voice Three/ Mr Wise/ Uncle Terry/ Drunk One/ London Trans Policeman/ Man On Phone

Ashley Dowds – Ed/ Ensemble

Clayton Evertson – Reverend Peters/ Voice Four/ Station Policeman/ Station Guard/ Ensemble

Genna Galloway – No.40/ Voice Five/ Lady In Street/ Information/ Punk Girl/ Ensemble

Liz Szymczak – Mrs Alexander/ Posh Woman/ Voice Six

Jenny Stead – Judy Boone

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time will be performed with one intermission.

South African Tour Dates:

September 22 – November 3, 2018 at Theatre On The Bay, Cape Town, South Africa (Ticket prices: R140 – R240)

November 7 – December 2, 2018 at Pieter Toerien’s Montescasino Theatre (Ticket prices: R100 – R240)

Bookings through Computicket.com

 

BOOK HERE:

https://online.computicket.com/web/event/the_curious_incident_of_the_dog_in_the_night_time/1236600329

 

Or Theatre On The Bay Box-office (021) 438-3301

Or Pieter Toerien’s Montescasino Theatre Box-office (011) 511-1988

 www.pietertoerien.co.za

FB:  www.facebook.com/PieterToerienProductions

IG: www.instagram.com/PieterToerienProductions

Twitter: www.twitter.com/PieterToerien 

PRODUCTION NOTES: 

The story takes place around April 1998. The biggest part of the story takes place in Swindon, other parts take place in London and between London and Swindon.

The social background that is presented in the story is pretty average. They live in a normal house and his father is a heating engineer.

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is an Olivier Award and Tony Award winning best play by Simon Stephens based on the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon.

The story revolves around a mystery surrounding the death of a neighbour’s dog (Wellington) that is investigated by young Christopher Boone and his relationships with his parents and school mentor.

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, is based on a 2003 mystery novel by British writer Mark Haddon.

Haddon and The Curious Incident won the Whitbread Book Award for best novel and book of the year, the Commonwealth Writers’ prize for best first book, and the Guardian Children’s fiction prize.

Unusually, it was published simultaneously in separate editions for adults and children.

The novel is narrated in the first-person perspective by Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioral difficulties” living in Swindon, Wiltshire. Although Christopher’s condition is not stated, the book’s blurb refers to Asperger syndrome, high-functioning autism, or savant syndrome. The play reworked the source material by changing its voice and presenting the story as a play-within-a-play.

In July 2009, Haddon wrote on his blog that “Curious Incident” is not a book about Asperger’s. It is a story about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way. The story is not specifically about any specific disorder”.

Mark Haddon (Book)

Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time was published in 2003. It was the winner of more than 17 literary awards, including prizes in Japan, Holland, and Italy, and was translated into 44 languages. A Spot Of Bother, published in 2006, was also an international bestseller.

The Donmar Warehouse produced Mark Haddon’s first work for the theatre, Polar Bears, in 2010. He has written 15 books for children, published a first collection of poetry in 2005, and is an illustrator and award-winning screenwriter.

Simon Stephens (Playwright)

Simon Stephens’ plays have been produced in many languages throughout the world. His plays Harper Regan and Bluebird were staged in New York at the Atlantic Theater Company.

His play Punk Rock was staged by MCC. His version of A Doll’s House for The Young Vic transferred to New York in 2014.

His adaptation of Mark Maddon’s novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time ran for two years on Broadway and won the Tony Award for best new play in 2015. The West End production of his play ran until June 2017 and garnered seven Olivier Awards, including best new play.

His play Heisenberg was produced by MTC. Simon is an associate at the Lyric, Hammersmith and the Royal Court, London.

Paul Warwick Griffin (Director)

With an international career spanning some twenty years, Paul has an extensive list of credits in just about every aspect of the theatrical arena from actor to director and producer.

Paul has directed the hugely successful South African and New Zealand tours of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatJesus Christ Superstar, as well as Stepping Out – The Musical and Hair – The Love Rock Musical. His production of Jesus Christ Superstar has toured to Greece and South Korea (Seoul and Busan). For over 4 years, Paul was the associate director for the world tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats traveling with the production to Beirut, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Shanghai, Doha, Taipei, Beijing, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Oslo and Athens.

Paul’s directing credits include Sunset Boulevard, Chess (which he also adapted with Sir Tim Rice), Evita and Disney’s High School Musical – Live On Stage in South Africa, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. He was also a panelist for the reality TV show High School Musical – Spotlight South Africa. Paul lives in London where his West End credits include resident director at the prestigious Old Vic theatre for Sean Mathias’ production of Aladdin, associate director for the Theatre Royal Haymarket’s production of Waiting for Godot starring Sir Ian Mckellen and Sir Patrick Stewart and associate director to Matthew Warchus for Ghost – The Musical for the West End, U.K tour, U.S tour and South Korea, and the award-winning London and Broadway productions of Groundhog Day – The Musical.

Paul is a partner in GWB Entertainment and will be collaborating this year with Pieter Toerien Productions on the smash hit production of Matilda –The Musical which opens at Johannesburg’s Teatro at Montecasino in October before transferring to Artscape’s Opera theater in December.

Charl Johan Lingenfelder (Composer)

Charl-Johan Lingenfelder is an award-winning South African performer, composer and well-known musical director who is also known as the creator of highly innovative and controversial theatrical shows. He has worked in Paris, San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong, Athens, New Zealand, China, Taiwan and Indonesia as composer, musical director, arranger, conductor, writer and performer.

Charl has been musical director on more than 25 musicals, such as The Rocky Horror Show, Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Funny Girl, King Kong, Evita, Hair, Sunset Boulevard, Orpheus In Africa, West Side Story And Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat for which he has received a Naledi award nomination (the production subsequently toured to Athens and Korea in 2007).

As an actor he has twice played the Emcee in Cabaret 1995 and 2015.

He is the co-writer and composer of the feature film Kanarie, which premiered at Outfest in Los Angeles in July and will premiere in South Africa in October this year. The film won the award for best feature film at Kyknet Silwerskerm Fees in August 2018.

DEAN ROBERTS

In recent years there has been a noticeable wave of nostalgia reflected in entertainment. Television series being rebooted left, right and centre. The reimagining of classic films into stage shows suggests that older audiences are sharing ‘their’ stories with new audiences, which in turn are ready to analyse and enjoy the material from different angels. Staged success stories of this resurgence include hits such as 9 to 5, Mean Girls, Groundhog Day and the current reinvention of Pretty Woman on Broadway.

Fatal Attraction stands as one of the most popular films of all time. The 1987 thriller established Glenn Close as a Hollywood force to be reckoned with. Beginning life as a half hour play on BBC to becoming the Oscar nominated film and now a razor sharp stage production at Pieter Toerien’s Theatre On The Bay in Cape Town.

When the film was released, the term “bunny boiler” became an informal noun that was associated with women who acted vengefully after being spurned by their lover. The film stood as an ominous warning for every wandering eye, but the script really holds more to it than that.

The reincarnation of Fatal Attraction began some 20 years ago when actor and producer Patrick Ryecart watched the film on late night television and noticed that the script would “make a terrific play, with all the basic elements of good, exciting theatre”. Patrick is currently performing in Noël Coward’s Present Laughter at Theatre On The Bay and while director Paula Bangels is currently rehearsing Fatal Attraction.

ABOVE: Opening night of Fatal Attraction at Theatre On The Bay, 20 March, 2018.

BACK (L-R): Robert Fox (London Producer), Paula Bangels (Director), James Dearden (Writer) and Annabel Brooks. FRONT: Patrick Ryecart. (Photo by Dean Roberts)

DR: Patrick, you mentioned your interest in the hubris of Dan, the main protagonist. You say that much like a Greek tragedy, Dan Gallagher was a flawed character; a man in his prime which displayed excessive signs of self-importance, pride and vanity. This was after all the 1980s, the era of the go-getter, where ambition particularly amongst men typified the values of an increasingly materialistic decade.

PR: Dan had certainly realised his ego to its full potential by the time we meet him. We see his pride, we see a sense of being bullet-proof. The fact that Dan had it all only stands to heighten the stakes when he’s faced with losing it all. This in turn drives the drama. As an actor I can see the interest from both sides, actor and audience. I believed that this story, with all its tension and drama built into the story, developed characters could and should be adapted for the stage. The film version brought a broad and multi-layered look at the story, with various locations all plumping up the experience. I was interested in pairing down the context elements for the stage, focusing on the characters, their relationships and the plays universal themes. James Dearden really created characters that belong in this story.

DR: I imagine that Hollywood screenwriters are buried deep below publishing agents and publicists, how did you manage to meet with James Dearden?

PR: I know James and so called him up and set up a meeting. We met for a tea in Oxford to discuss what had come and gone and what could still be done. Our shared interests in the deeper story were very much identical and James was clearly interested in how the drama could be presented on stage. Our meeting last a few hours. I found in James a man who was a gifted storyteller but also a great ally in collaboration. We ended off by agreeing to get the ball rolling. We called Robert Fox who is one of London’s most prolific producers and asked him if he could help us in attaining the stage rights. Robert has produced some of the most important plays on the West End in recent times, couple this with his equally extensive film career (The Hours, Notes on a Scandal, Iris) and he agreed to help and also co-produce.

DR: How did you get the Hollywood studio to buy in to your plans for a stage revival of the story?

PR: A string of meetings ended with 20th Century Fox agreeing to award the rights, with a keen eye on all parties involved. James began writing the play script. I think that must be an extraordinary process of being able to revisit your work decades later with the main focus of resuscitating it and having that opportunity to fix things, little niggles, that may have existed for years. The Haymarket theatre offered to co-produce, with “Cats” director Trevor Nunn to direct. Trevor’s production was lavish and would become the first stop in the projects full transformation to stage. His production was very well received and ran for 25 weeks. We could see sense though that even with the thick realistic veneer to the staging the drama could be heightened and the pace improved. One of the most valuable things to come from that production was the emergence of a more human female protagonist, which was never really realised in the film. Perhaps this was the result of James revisiting the script after many years.

DR: I hear there is a very exciting arts movement buzzing within Belgium and Holland right now.

PR: There really is. James and I went to Holland to meet the play’s Belgian director Paula Bangels. I was riveted by what Paula had created and fascinated by the dynamic that she had fostered within her cast. The cohesion of the actors supported the story so powerfully that production leaped away from all the expectations associated with the film. This was now something that was perfectly distilled and highly focused. In the film version the studio wanted a blockbuster ending, with a pure villain in Glenn Close’s character. The ending was reshot with that as the endgame. The final product left Glenn very unhappy. This ending was not James’ choice – the stage revival was his opportunity to give the story the ending he always wanted.

PB: I believed in the universal themes in James’ script and wanted audiences to watch the action and judge the characters from their own perspective. This is a story that could have occurred. These things do happen. I hated the final ending to the film. Hollywood wanted a villain that would give the story a more palpable climax. I wanted to bring the surrounding characters into the fold a bit more. It had to be down to the casting of the play to make it truly and believably work. I selected the actors that I believed and that I knew could go to places that they had never been to but could still be believable. As a director and even as someone who watches theatre I crave nuances and detail in performance. When we started rehearsing the play here in Cape town I didn’t allow the cast to look at the words for over a week. We would spend hours in a controlled rehearsal space work shopping moments and improvising scenes and potential character scenarios. The moments that transpired are magical, brave and raw. I believe in exploring and incorporating the actor’s instincts into the story making, I want them to tell the story from the gut, to own the piece.

DR: Paula, I believe that you approached the staging and direction from your own angle, choosing to disregard much of the script’s stage directions.

PB: I have always been willing to exchange verbal for nonverbal. It goes back to valuing genuine nuances. I wanted to remove a lot of the clutter around the main story and really push the facts, the facts that are real to these characters as they are living them. The staging is the perfect example of what I mean. One set with a million mood options, with lighting and soundscapes the story really soars. The play is in a lineal plotline and I get to place the characters in a tank of water and slowly turn up the heat. Atmosphere is very important in doing this. Within the scarcity of the set the most extraordinary things occur. I rely on music to ‘turn the screw’, really up the pressure. It is after all a thriller. But don’t expect a bunny boiling on the stove. This is definitely not he film. This is more about passion and how with passion some things cannot be ignored. This is about wanting to not be ignored, basic human emotions. Everyone wants to be seen and to be validated. I really want to present the characters in an equal light and let the audiences form their own verdict of what they see. I want them to decide for themselves on who’s to blame, can blame be assigned and what is the price to be paid.

In an age where truth is sought out more than ever in a landscape dominated by fake news and subjective personal opinion, it bodes well that Fatal Attraction has sprung from a desire to humanise the characters and tell the stories that exist within the script in a universal way. Today’s audience rail against falsities and it seems that the creative forces behind the stage adaption know this and feel the same way.

ABOVE: Opening night of Fatal Attraction at Theatre On The Bay, 20 March, 2018.

(L-R): Jazzara Jaslyn, Ashley Dowds, Paula Bangels (Director), Jenny Stead, Jo da Silva and Alex Tops. (Photo by Dean Roberts)

The much anticipated South African debut of this stage production is produced by Pieter Toerien and stars Ashley Dowds as Dan Gallagher and Jazzara Jaslyn as Alex Forrester. The play also features a powerful cast of performers with Jenny Stead, Alex Tops and Jo Da Silva portraying the core characters.

Opening night of Fatal Attraction at Theatre On The Bay, 20 March, 2018.

(L-R): Pieter Toerien, Paula Bangels and Ashley Dowds. (Photo by Dean Roberts)

DR: Ashley Dowds, has this rehearsal process challenged you in any specific way?

AD: Without a doubt! It has cut across the grain of the ‘classical table read’ to start with before ‘getting the story onto its feet’. Is this perhaps a very European alternative? I’m not sure, because it is the first time that I am working with a director from Europe – but what I can say is that Paula’s conviction to work from the emotionality of the story right from the onset has been shocking. Shocking in a very affirming way. It has shaken up the order of things and that doesn’t always feel ‘comfortable’. That has become the important for the way that this story is told on stage. It won’t be comfortable for the audience to watch either – it has some very familiar scenarios (maybe too familiar for some) – but it will be presented in a way that will not rely on familiar comforts. There is no time to breathe!

Fatal Attraction runs at Theatre On The Bay until 7 April, before transferring to Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre from 11 April – 6 May. Tickets range from R120 – R200 in Cape Town and R100 – R200 in Johannesburg.

The production carries an age restriction of PG16 with the show depicting strong adult themes, sex and language.