Audiences still have a week to catch Basil Appollis upon his return to the stage in ‘My Word! Redesigning Buckingham Palace’. The production is showing at the Baxter’s Masambe Theatre until December 31.
Appollis has of late become better known for his exploits behind the scenes, helming successful musical theatre productions. What younger audiences especially might have forgotten is that Appollis is an award winning actor, regarded by many as one of the nation’s finest. ‘Redesigning Buckingham Palace’ is a vehicle for the diverse talents of Appollis, the performer. It serves as a reminder of what audiences have been missing since he swopped the footlights for the director’s chair about a decade ago.
The show is a celebration of the life and work of legendary writer Richard Rive. But at the same time it’s a salute to District Six, the heart of Cape Town.
Buckingham Palace was the nickname for a row of mouldy cottages where one couldn’t be further removed from the Queen’s residence. And, to add to the Cape Town irony, there were framed and mounted prints of the royal family hanging everywhere in these rundown tenements.
“Humour and a tenacious spirit were primary requirements for thriving in District Six and these are elements that define my show,” says Appollis.
On the eve of the Mother City becoming World Design Capital 2014 this play aims to show how important it is to redesign our skewed historic perspectives.
Appollis most recently directed the hit shows ‘Brother Love’ and ‘Plekkie In Die Son’. So what compelled the man to return to the stage after such a long absence? “I did an extract from Rive’s ‘Buckingham Palace District Six’ for the launch of Shaun Viljoen’s biography. It reignited my passion for being on stage again,” says Appollis.
“After this brief performance there were so many requests to bring back Richard’s story, especially his memories of District Six. Whether this is me wanting to get back on stage or Richard wanting his story out there once more, I’m not quite sure. He was a larger than life character who loved being centre stage at all times.”
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