Roughly 2 weeks back I was invited to a show by my sister and brother-in-law. Going out with old married people is always fun. Just kidding, they aren’t that old. I digress. It was for a live performance that would be taking place at The All Star Theatre in Cape Gate.
The show was entitled Platform 9, and the ticket read 11 May 2013: a day that has now been solidified in my top 3 days of the year so far. It’s nearly halfway through the year, okay.
We joined the queue outside the shiny glass doors to the All Star Theatre, enveloped comfortably between two black boards plastered with photographs journaling all the hard work that had gone into setting up this place, and chronicling some of what has happened here thus far.
I gazed up at the bright lights elegantly framing the sign at the entrance. Shine bright like a diamond was not playing in my head, okay. As I walked in I received a warm welcome and an even warmer atmosphere.
Red drapes and a checkered floor. Need I saw more?
A few faces made familiar via 7de Laan were present, rightly supporting. These included the ever-dreaded Sekoati Tsubane and the winning smile of Hendrik Cronje.
I find it quite awesome how people call them by their 7de Laan character names. That’s just me though. I want to do a cameo on 7de Laan and then make people call me by my character’s name.
Anyway, groups of people stood around chatting heartily and enjoying the comfortable ambience that the place so effortlessly generates.
After a while, everyone started taking their seats as the show was about to start.
I’d love to say that Platform 9 had an elaborate stage setting, with millions of props and pyrotechnics…
But it didn’t.
And that’s what made it so brilliant! Platform 9 has two guys, a platform, a few props, some amazing sound and a truckload of talent that carried the two-man show to an undisputed standing ovation the moment that Theodore Jantjies and Maurice Paige took a bow.
Each character in Platform 9 has unique- yet relatable- characteristics which bring them to life.
Witty conversation, the occasional song and a sufficient amount of jokes, jabs and action brought me to the edge of my seat on multiple occasions.
It needs to be said that Director Christo Davids, who I did not see, but definitely heard- did a brilliant job with this piece.
Somewhere in this rich mix, at any point in the show, there was a character being portrayed that someone in the audience could relate to, tying in well with The All Star Theatre’s sentiment of having something for everyone.
Having met Maurice and chatted to him (briefly) in person some time before the show, and also seeing his character on Isidingo, I was thoroughly impressed having never seen him perform in a live theatre setting.
My expectations were not low; more like his performance and flexibility as an actor blew me out of the water that night.
As for Theodore, well I had only ever known the dashing, strong-jawed actor as the stoic, often formidable lawyer from 7de Laan.
All I can say is that his performance was truly inspiring in that it gave me hope that even in this world where so many mediocre performers exist, there are some truly talented ones, and right here in South Africa! I’m beyond proud!
Overall, it was really refreshing seeing these two brilliant actors break out of the roles you’d expect them to play.
I love that The All Star Theatre has given talent the opportunity to break out of the roles that society almost rigidly identifies them with: a product of stardom I suppose.
The notion of going back to basics and exposing pure, raw flair on a bear stage is what gave me goose bumps in almost every scene.
Each and every prop, action and line had its place- forming a mis-en-scene that could be appreciated by an artist as easily as by a regular-Joe watching the show.
As a critique, I would have liked to see all the story lines wrapped up a bit tighter, but maybe that’s just because I wanted to see more of the show when it was over.
I’ll definitely be returning to The All Star Theatre in future, if this is the kind of show I can expect.
Memorable moments: Lovey’s appearance (Oh, snap!)
About the author: Stephen is co-founder of BTG Lifestyle, a marketer and aspiring filmmaker who has developed a keen taste for live local productions. He’s also Batman on weekends and South African public holidays.