Black comedic mini-masterpieces at the Vineyard Hotel

Black comedic mini-masterpieces at the Vineyard Hotel

DIRECTOR: Fred Abrahamse

CAST: Matthew Baldwin, Dean Balie, Marcel Meyer, Lady Aria Grey

VENUE: The Vineyard Hotel, Colinton Road, Newlands, on July 21, 22, and 29; and August 4, 5, 12, 18 and 19, at 7pm

Review by Peter Tromp

It’s been an incredible year for local theatre. That is a sentence I have typed many times over the last decade and a half, but this year it rings truer than ever. If ever Cape Town needed an ambassador to advertise what’s great about this city (apart from our famous, flat top geological body), we could do infinitely worse than our truly world class theatre scene. ‘Two By Tenn’, the second year iteration of ‘Hotel Plays’ to be staged at the Vineyard Hotel, is yet another highlight in a year that has already overflowed with such gems as ‘Twelfth Night’ at Maynardville; ‘Scenes From An Execution’, ‘Tartuffe’ and ‘Suddenly The Storm’ at the Baxter; and ‘The Mother’ and ‘Hemelruim’ at The Fugard.

For those who missed out on our interview with theatre-makers Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer in last week’s edition, the ‘Two By Tenn’ programme helmed by the creative duo consists of two of US playwright Tennessee Williams’ fringe works – the short plays ‘A perfect analysis given by a Parrot’ and ‘The remarkable Rooming-House of MME. Le Monde’. Short though they may be, these plays do not lack for punch, imagination and especially in the case of the latter, breadth. Your ticket includes a three course, wine paired supper, with the plays performed after the starters and mains. The whole experience, pricey though it may be, harkens back to the glory days of dinner-theatre in the city.

Both plays, expertly staged by director Abrahamse, are deliriously entertaining, darkly comic mini-masterpieces. ‘The remarkable Rooming-House of MME. Le Monde’ especially leaves an indelible mark on one with its black comedic majesty. It recalls the universe-within-a-play style of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Endgame’, only with better dialogue. All the performers are in top form, but special mention must go to Dean Balie, who stars in both plays and proves that he has so much more in him than his unquestionable musical talents.

* To book, send an email to hotelplays@vineyard.co.za. Tickets cost R650 per person. Ticket price includes the three course wine paired dinner and the two plays.