A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

drama
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

BEAUTY AND THE B.E.E! (article first published : 2008-04-18)

Towards the end of our evening in her company, Beauty Ramapelepele takes a phone call from no less than a personage than the President’s wife who explains that she is not able to attend Beauty’s daughter’s wedding the following morning. The reason being that she has to accompany her husband on yet another international trip (but that’s another story!). In response to Mrs Mbeki’s question as to her whereabouts, Beauty replies that she’s “simply sitting with friends”.

Well, I’d count Beauty Ramapelele as one of my friends any day. She’s elegant, outspoken, humorous, deliciously bitchy, visionary and she’s got a big heart that’s in the right place. She’d certainly enliven any conversation - offering pithy comments on people’s fashion sense and injecting forthright – and completely un-PC – remarks about all and sundry from politicians to domestic servants.

Directed by Janice Honeyman and written by him, Ben Voss’s Beauty and the BEE is a triumph of a performance. Dressed in a highly attractive designer outfit designed by Tracy Whitaker and Ishmael from Traditionally, he blazes through with the kind of humour that we have come to associate him with through the Mamba series, co-written and (until recently) co-performed with John van de Ruit.

We first meet Beauty, a Houghton-based mother of two, as she puts the finishing touches to her make-up in her dressing room, a section of the attractive set designed by Tracy Whitaker. Over the public address system, the MC can be heard announcing the nominees for the South African Business Woman of the Year, with her name being hailed as the winner. Complete with self-effacing laugh and eyelashes all a-flutter, she accepts her award with grace and pride, acknowledging all the right high profile people in the audience – some more enthusiastically than others! - and paying tribute to her fabric and fashion company, Yebo Fabrics.

It would be an impossible task to isolate some of the hilarious remarks that make up this delicious one-man (woman?) show. The humour comes at a laugh a minute and much kudos is due to Ben for handling this 70-minute script with such aplomb. Under Janice Honeyman’s sure hand, Beauty and the BEE is like a modern day African symphony - cleverly orchestrated so that it flows with a vibrant rhythm, dances with glee, rattles with irony and ripples with refreshing candour.

Beauty has rock-solid credentials which lend weight to her outspoken views on a number of subjects – from the highly lucrative burial industry, Eskom or her daughter’s impending marriage to a white man. And dance? This is a subject which generates much humour as she portrays the dance styles – or lack of them – of the many cultures that make up South Africa. Her terse comment is that those who can’t dance must go to Robben Island!

Our evening with Beauty finishes on an emotional note as she makes a speech at her daughter’s wedding, her words going deeper than just a mother/daughter message of goodwill. The response from the audience was electric and you could have heard the proverbial pin drop. Don’t miss it!

Beauty and the B.E.E runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from March 31 to April 21 and at the Hillcrest Heritage Theatre from May 12 to 18. Ticket prices for the Durban season are R80 (R65 students, scholars and pensioners) and R60 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The show then moves to the Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg to run from May 20 to 24, followed by a Johannesburg run at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square in Sandton from May 27 to June 22. Grahamstown is up next from June 26 to July 5, and the year ends with a November and December season at the Baxter Theatre complex in Cape Town.

Join Beauty’s group on Facebook (Beauty Ramapelepele) or go to www.mambaproductions.com – Caroline Smart




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart