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TIN HAT FROLICS (article first published : 2002-05-11)

The month of May marks the 75th anniversary of the Memorial Order of Tin Hats. The MOTH organisation was generated by a cartoon by Charles Alfred Evenden (“Evo”) on May 7, 1926, in The Natal Mercury which depicted the way he felt the society of the time had forgotten the brave men who had fallen in the First World War.

Troubadour Productions was asked to produce a musical show for the Rhumbelow Theatre, itself based in a MOTH Shellhole, which paid tribute to the MOTHS.

The short run of Tin Hat Frolics at the end of April was highly successful and so well received that the show will move to Kwasuka Theatre for seven performances from May 22 to 26.

Direction is by Caroline Smart who wrote the script with well-known comedy actor John Simpson of Men from the Ministry fame. Also included is a sketch by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

Cast members include Frank Graham, Peter Gardner and Caroline Smart – all well-known for their comedy talent - with Rosalie Howard providing the accompaniment.

Tin Hat Frolics also features a welcome new face on the theatre scene, that of Thomie Holtzhausen who plays the role of Private Parts. “He came in late to the production as company manager but once I realised his dramatic ability, his role has steadily grown! This is definitely an actor to watch,” says Caroline Smart.

The musical content includes many of the well-known songs made famous in the war years, such as A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square, Let Me Call You Sweetheart, You Made Me Love You, When You're Smiling, If You Were the Only Girl, Moonlight Bay and Cruising Down the River. Songs like Die Ou Kalahari and Sarie Marais acknowledge the considerable part South Africans played in both wars.

While the seriousness of war, bravery on the battlefront and loss of life will be rightfully acknowledged, the show - as the title suggests – will focus on the use of comedy that fuels the ever-enduring spirit of survival inherent in mankind in times of trouble and stress.

A section is devoted to Durban's legendary Lady in White, Perla Siedle Gibson, who took on the self-appointed task of singing troop ships and other vessels in and out of the harbour during the Second World War. She will be remembered for rousing numbers such as Pack Up Your Troubles, Long Way to Tipperary, Wish Me Luck and Bless 'Em All.

Shows take place at Kwasuka Theatre from May 22 to 26 nightly at 19h30. Tickets R40 (R35 senior citizens and students). There will be two matinee performances – May 25 and 26 at 14h30. Tickets R35. Tickets for members of the MOTH organisation are R30 for all shows. Members are asked to give their names and Shellholes when booking.

Book at Computicket, Kwasuka Theatre on 031 309-2236 or contact Troubadour Productions on 031 209-2817/8 or Peter Gardner on 083 225-7934 or e-mail: troubad@iafrica.com




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