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

TWO FOR THE PRICE OF NONE (article first published : 2001-11-14)

The night club venue Blu at 226 Stamford Hill Road adapted one of its spacious rooms for theatre presentations earlier this year and this has since seen new productions make their debut there such as Rewind 2 Blu and Comin’ Atcha.

Now it’s the turn of Two for the Price of None, a wacky farce directed by Catherine Mace and featuring Calli Denton and Melissa Wood.

The scenario is simple – two young women who share a flat start off the evening exchanging the particular problems of their day. The one has discovered that her boyfriend is gay and the other has had a hard time surviving without a secretary. They gradually make serious inroads into several bottles of wine, which prompts many reminiscences and much gossip. This provides for entertaining vignettes as the two take on other characters.

The writers of the play, Calli Denton and Melissa Wood, are extremely competent and experienced actresses who have a flair for comedy. Unfortunately their writing doesn’t do them justice or allow them sufficient room in which to present their talents. They also have a strange tendency earlier in the play to break out into yells during speeches. Presumably to accentuate a point, but this could be done in a less strident manner.

Three-times FNB Vita award winner director Catherine Mace has extracted as much comedy as possible from the production. It was written five years ago and recently re-worked. There is certainly a good dollop of snappy dialogue and fun imagery. However, Two for the Price of None does hover between its original format and the reworked one and the two don’t always make for a comfortable or logical sequence. Calli Denton readily admits that the show will be re-worked and I look forward to seeing it then.

Tonight’s audience did not perhaps respond to the comedy as energetically as they could have because the venue is extremely hot. The noisy air conditioner has to be turned off as it interferes with the performance. Two very welcome standing fans eased the atmosphere but if Blu is to continue to present shows which involve powerful lighting which adds to the heat, then the organisers must invest in a quiet air conditioner before the summer months to come.

As always, it’s hats off to any performers who take the courageous step of presenting new work in today’s difficult times. So, support their indomitable spirit if you want to see good theatre in its embryonic stage and head for Blu … but dress very lightly! You’ll need to “stay cool” for the show’s hour or so duration.

The show has two further performances on November 21 and 28 at 20h00. Tickets R20. To book phone Calli on 083 661-7871




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