‘Rocco de Villiers – All About The Piano’
Until Saturday, December 5
Rocco in 140 characters
Describe yourself in 140 characters.
Countryboy, almost. Sentimental. Obsessive. Compulsive. Neurotic. Perfectionist. Loyal. Naughty. Workoholic.
What inspired the concept behind ‘All About The Piano’?
My survival as a pianist and solo perfomer in South Africa; the people who are supporting me so much.
For those folks who have never experience Rocco de Villiers live, what can they expect?
Piano music with anecdotes form Rocco’s life to make the bed for the music. It is humorous, sad, funny, uplifting. The show is like a series of short films with visuals to compliment it: The soundtrack of Rocco’s life.
When did your musical “powers” first manifest themselves?
When I was four years old. I was bored and asked the garden man to break the lock of our upright piano. And when I saw a poster of actress Vena Naude, who came to my hometown Harrismith to do a show, ‘Shakespeare in Afrikaans’.
Your biggest inspiration in life…
Beauty – in people, nature, simple things, grand things…
The most nervous you’ve ever been on stage…
When I had to do a role as a mute piano player. The play was called ‘Speel’ and I did it with actor Lizz Meiring.
“Last night a show changed my life.” Which show?
‘The showgirl must go on’ – Bette Midler in Las Vegas.
If you could be anyone else for 24 hours…
Drinks are on us. Who would you like in your party?
Barbra Streisand, my partner Clive van den Berg, my doctor Jean du Plessis, and (fashion icon) Iris Apfel.
Easiest way to your heart…
Baked pudding, single malt, biltong and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Favourite place in the world…
A work (movie; book; album; play/show) that you consider to be absolutely perfect…
The film ‘Remains Of The Day’.
You’ve been reincarnated as a pizza…which toppings can we expect?
Capers, olives and anchovis on a cauliflower base.
‘Die van Aardes van Grootoor: The Musical’
December 11 to January 9
Q&A with director
Why did you decide to bring back ‘Die van Aardes van Grootoor’?
The play has worked so well through the ages – from 1977 through various governments, struggles, rainbow moments and renaissances. It is also a perfect ensemble piece for six actors who play all the various characters. And even though most of the language is Afrikaans (with 25% English), everyone will understand Die Taal.
The concept had its debut in an anti-censorship revue in 1975, during the height of apartheid. Can you tell us a little about its first incarnation and how it was received?
It sort-of tiptoed into the public domain, starting at the Baxter Studio in 1977 to no audiences, except family and friends, and then opening at the Laager at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg to legendary applause. We were banned by the National Party censors, but won our appeal with reservations: they kept the banning for the sentence, “‘n Vrou sonder liefde is soos ‘n koek sonder ‘n kers,” but allowed us to replace it with, “‘n Vrou sonder liefde is soos ‘n doos sonder ‘n deksel.” Hello?
Tell us a little about your young cast and which qualities you were looking for during casting.
So many established actors have been in ‘Van Aardes’ in the last three decades, so it was a great thrill to cast a young company of performers fresh out of drama school and hungry and healthy for work. They have great voices, they have musicality and patience, they love hard work, they enjoy laughter and they agree with the essence of what we do: I call it the F-word – FUN! If we don’t have that, the audience won’t share it.
Your long-time collaborator Godfrey Johnson does music on the play. Tell us about the musical tone that you wanted established for this production.
God and I have been working together for over 20 years, mainly on the cabarets for Bambi Kellermann. It was inevitable that we moved towards more complex arenas and this is that – a play that works, being the square peg into the round hole of music. Over 20 songs which echo the styles of the 1920s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 1970s, as well as boereliedjies, Schumann, opera and hip hop. The whole experience is musical, not just with the songs but with a constant underscoring by Godfrey and his three piece band, sitting above the set in a radio studio – because ‘Die van Aardes’ is a radio seriel of 780 episodes, of which we can only do a random choice of five – from 1928 until 1978.
‘Singin’ in the Rain’ splashes onto the Cape Town stage
Artscape Opera House from December 11 to January 10
‘Singin’ in the Rain’, the award-winning production direct from London’s West End, will be charming Cape Town during the festive season.
Brought to the Mother City by producer Pieter Toerien, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ made a big splash the moment it premiered in the UK. The show, which toured internationally with a stellar South African cast, played to sell out houses in Hong Kong after wowing audiences in New Zealand, the Philippines and Singapore. Now it’s finally Cape Town’s turn.
Set in 1927, the production tells the story, made famous by Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in the iconic 1952 MGM movie, of the first Hollywood musical, when the silver screen found its voice and left the silent movies and some of its stars behind.
It is a comedy about the film industry, with its egomaniac stars, monstrous film moguls, fickle fans, classic ‘golden-era’ moves and slapstick humour.
Don Lockwood (Grant Almirall of ‘Jersey Boys’ fame) is a silent movie star who has everything he could want in fame, adulation and a well-publicised “romance” with his co-star Lina Lamont (Taryn-Lee Hudson). But Hollywood is about to change forever and there is a rumour in the studio of a new kind of film, where the actors actually talk, sing and dance.
Can Don and the uniquely voiced Lina make the transition and will chorus girl Kathy Selden fulfill (Bethany Dickson, ‘The Sound of Music’) her dream of stardom and capture Don’s heart along the way?
Find out this festive season.
The magical ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ scene where it rains live onstage is one of the big highlights of the show, leaving audiences in the front rows a little wetter than when they first arrived.
Book at Computicket.