By Melissa Cohen
A musical can be a good metaphor to describe the entertaining interview that I conducted with local performers (and would-be funny men), Marcel Engelbrecht and Lloyd Kandlin. It was definitely their vibrant personalities and shear passion for their careers that was the conversation starter. Both kept me in stitches throughout our interview and I found myself feeling as though I had been a part of their lives for much longer than an hour or two.
‘Boy Meets Boy’, the show the two are currently starring in and that can be seen at the Artscape Arena until Sunday July 21, is a musical that contrasts with present day society as it deals with two gay men and their undying love for each other, which leads in to marriage. Although this musical may deal with a controversial topic, Kandlin argues that it isn’t based on gay marriage. “The topic of gay marriage is not a big deal; during the 1930’s there was a lot of gay people who were having relationships with each other.” “The play is primarily a love story. It is aimed at allowing the audience to experience emotions of joy, happiness and light-hearted humour,” adds Engelbrecht.
Although both Engelbrecht and Kandlin are musical theatre performers, they lead completely different lives offstage. Engelbrecht has recently graduated from a performing arts school in the Northern Cape and decided to come to Cape Town to pursue acting. ‘Boy Meets Boy’ is his first lead role in a big production, although he has been involved in various school productions. “This is my first big role in the theatre world and I am so honoured to be involved in this production as I am learning from some of the best in the business,” laughs Engelbrecht as he seems to reminisce about his past experiences.
Kandlin, on the other hand, has been in performance for most of his life. He is a musical theatre veteran, acrobat, costume designer as well as an aspiring musician. “‘Boy Meets Boy’ is my ‘come back’ performance, as the last time I have been on stage performing in a musical was in 1997,” he says. “I feel ready to make my return and this production has given me the opportunity to explore the musical theatre genre anew, as I studied musical theatre and this is ultimately where my interests lie.”
Even though both men act as though they are besotted with each other in the performance, they both repeatedly mention that offstage they have a ‘love-hate relationship’. This could be the contrast in strong personalities that they both offer or their 10 year age difference, which goes unnoticed during their performance as they are covered up with lots of make-up and accessories. Engelbrecht mentioned that our interview was the longest that the two had ever spoken to each other, which although rather amusing, definitely emphasises their acting talents, as I was convinced that their relationship on stage extended off stage too.
‘Boy Meets Boy’ is ultimately a unique theatrical production aimed to eliminate the misconceptions associated with gay marriage. It is, as Kandlin says, a “comedy/romance mini extravaganza” and “etched within this performance is a beautiful love story,” adds Engelbrecht. It is definitely a show not to be missed and, with these two men playing leading roles, you are assured to find yourself in stitches.
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