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GRAHAMSTOWN - CABARET (article first published : 1999-07-7)

I wish we could have seen Abba Maniacs in this venue, remarked one male festival-goer at the City Hall venue, “we would have had a better view of the legs!” And this is a reflection of one of the problems at the Bowling Club, the venue taken over for the festival by the hard-working Durban theatre duo of Aaron McIlroy and Lisa Bobbert. There are too many seats crammed into the room and most performances are packed solid which creates a major potential nightmare in terms of fire or electrical problems. Also, the stage is not high enough for anyone further than the third row to have a clear view of anything below the actors’ knees and, to refer to the aforesaid gentleman’s remark, there’s a lot of “leg” in this show.

The longest legs belong to the willowy Marion Loudon with sexy Kate Bruce giving her a run for her money. On occasions, the mischievous Daryl Evans Fuchs shows a fair amount of leg as well, while Aaron’s manic leaping legs probably don’t enter the scenario! The females in the audience were transfixed by the legs of Grant Almirall – well, they were happy to gaze on any part of this talented youngster’s body. Not bad for someone who has only been in professional theatre since Christmas! Another pair of legs, and these are pretty sturdy as they’ve a fairly impressive-sized body to keep off the floor, belong to Pinkie Mtshali who is an utter delight in lycra hitting a high operatic note every now and again to keep this crazy fun show under control!

A tribute to the famous Swedish singing group, Abba Maniacs is written and directed by Aaron McIlroy. Having seen it done in a fair-sized theatre with its proper set, revolve and backdrop, I was a little chary of seeing it done on such a small stage without any trimmings at all apart from a silver curtain. I needn’t have worried. The show itself is such fun and filled with crazy nonsense that it carries the audience along on waves of laughter.


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