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BRIDESMAID (article first published : 2007-01-12)

Appearing as part of the current Musho! Festival in Durban is Bridesmaid.

Mary Steward presents her reflections on her experiences of having been a bridesmaid no less than seven times (and a flower girl three times) in this one-woman show written, and performed, by her, the show having been directed by Emma Durden. Full marks to both of them.

The attention to detail is superb with a great deal of thought having gone into the production to set the scene such as rose petals on the stairs leading to the Catalina theatre, in the foyer and in the front of the stage and two beautiful flower arrangements on the stage. There are also shop mannequins centre stage dressed as a bride and a groom. These clothes are used as props to illustrate the action, as are the bridesmaid dresses on a clothes rack and a full-length dressing table mirror. Indeed, two little girls are a prequel to the show as flower girls and a poem is recited by one of them - its relevance to the play coming out later. This also helps to set the scene beautifully.

We are treated to a decade of bad dresses, drunken dancing and the trials and tribulations of wedding preparations in a wonderfully humorous way. Relationships, families, décor and disasters are all covered. Not only are the script and its delivery superbly executed but Mary Steward's body language is also used to full advantage to complement these. Maximum use is made of special effects such as a television set (one can imagine one is seeing the programme), sound effects (such as a storm), lighting (darkness as a result of a failed generator), and the dance music, not to mention the bridesmaid's (and flower girl’s) dresses.

Many other characters are portrayed by Mary Steward to illustrate the various aspects of the weddings at which she has been a bridesmaid, for example John the wedding coordinator, her brother (by wearing the dress suit jacket), a coughing and smoking dressmaker, and several relatives and mothers of the brides. The action is smooth and continuous, with never a static or dull moment. The humour is delightful and without malice, with the whole bridesmaid experience having lead the author towards her own discovery of herself. This is theatre at its best.

There will be one more performance of this play, on January 12 at 20h00 at the Catalina Theatre. For anyone who has been a bridesmaid, been a bride, or attended a wedding - and isn't that everyone? you won't be disappointed in Bridesmaid.

Musho Festival tickets are booked through Thandeka at the Catalina on 031 305 6889. – Maurice Kort




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