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BRIDESMAID (article first published : 2008-04-17; last edited : [an error occurred while processing this directive])

“Three times a bridesmaid, never a bride” was the maxim my mother kept quoting to me when I was asked a third time to play the role, halting my expectation of once again marching proudly up the aisle in a pretty dress behind a beautiful bride in all her glory.

In Mary’s case, she’s been a bridesmaid seven times. So the chances of future bridal glory look pretty slim. This is the basis of the highly entertaining one-woman show Bridesmaid which opened tonight at the Catalina Theatre.

Featuring the attractive and very versatile Cape Town-based actress Mary Steward, the show is finely-tuned by Emma Durden who is also the Musho festival director. Tonight’s audience was a fair mix of the sexes and, while the females went into gales of laughter at the subtleties of the humour, there were many guffaws from the males as well. This is a show that can be enjoyed across the board and part of the secret of its success is that Mary Stewart is a very engaging performer.

It’s a clever concept and showcases Mary’s capacity for accents, pathos and body language as well as her strong underplayed comedy skills. The opening of the show sees her telling a fairy tale to a bunch of youngsters before one of the parents shows a video of the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Mary is fascinated by the flowergirls who appeared on the balcony scene at Buckingham Palace after the ceremony and this presages what is to be the first of many bridesmaid’s duties to come.

The stage is set effectively with mannequins dressed in traditional Western bride and groom gear and some attractive floral arrangements; a full-length mirror; a table with ice bucket and champagne, and a dress rail from which she pulls elegant bridesmaids’ dresses in various hues. She treads fearlessly into the fashion dictionary where few of us dare to venture and ironically poses the question as to what colour the garment is, arguing the difference between pistachio, teal or musk as opposed to just plain green, blue or pink.

All the while, she regales us with her history of being a bridesmaid in a number of locations, some quite adventurous and one of which included bridesmaids’ choreography! Her mother keeps asking if she’s met anyone special yet – after all, the scenario is supposed to be: kisses, love, marriage, babies and 4x4, isn’t it? – all the while praying that, for her daughter, the fairytale will come true.

Selecting someone in the front row as bride-to-be at a bridal shower, she sends up the whole bizarre ritual to the delight of the audience. Then goes on to describe the weddings – or more accurately, the receptions or parties afterwards. Her impersonation of Johnny Clegg was hilarious! If you want to forget load shedding, petrol hikes, rates evaluations and everything else the universe seems to be throwing at us these days, then don’t miss this one!

Running in tandem with Bridesmaid is another production from the same team. My CV: ‘one woman@work’ which is a humorous and insightful look at what we’re supposed to be in the world ranging from the early questions of: “What do you want to be when you’re big?” to choosing subjects in high school and attempting to find a general direction thereafter:

Bridesmaid runs until April 27 with performances on Tuesdays at 20h30, Wednesdays and Fridays at 20h00 and Saturdays at 18h00. My CV takes place on Thursdays at 20h00 and Sundays at 18h00 only. Tickets R60 (R30 Scholars and pensioners). In a Double Decker special offer, you can buy tickets for both shows at R100. Both shows are comedies - suitable for all ages, and last for 55 minutes. For more information or to book, contact the Catalina Theatre on 031 305 6889. – Caroline Smart




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