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

supper theatre
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.

CABARET SAUVIGNON (article first published : 2000-03-5)

Written by Catherine Mace and Michael Broderick, Cabaret Sauvignon running in the Backstage venue at the Royal Hotel falls somewhere between a rock concert and a dramatic musical (Sondheim rather than Oscar and Hammerstein).

The one-woman show stars Catherine herself, no stranger to Durban theatre-goers as a consummate actress but on opening night, we were surprised by the quality of her voice. Although there’s no reason why we should have been – she used to sing in a band called Gina Peep for years with Kerry de Witt. Under the solo spotlight she shines as a fine performer who offers both a welcome new face on the cabaret circuit as well as a refreshing repertoire of songs from such pop icons as Annie Lennox, Indigi Girls, Alison Moyet and Black Sabbath as well as older numbers usually presented in this medium.

A rock concert feel is created by stunning and dramatic lighting effects by director Michael Broderick, well-known for his contributions to contemporary music presentations. Introducing a sophisticated rig to the Royal’s Backstage, he has made good use of the small stage area and often places Catherine in powerful back lighting. Artificial smoke is much in evidence, at one stage totally enveloping the singer adding to the rock concert feel. I could have done with a bit more lighting from the front and for Catherine’s make-up to be stronger otherwise the facial expression tend to get lost.

Celebrating the strength and spirit of womankind. Cabaret Sauvignon deals in song and patter with four women who in their individual ways are surviving in spite their existing or past relationships with men. The Annie Lennox number Sisters (“are doing it for themselves”) says it all. But male audience members need not fear that this is a feminist show – there is much humour to be appreciated by both sexes.

Chlarisse (Sweet Dreams) is a streetwise waitress with a husband beneath whose “flabby exterior lay a flabby interior”. A world-weary wannabee pop star, she bemoans stingy diners who leave very little or nothing in the way of tips. Mathilde (Old Devil Called Love, Killing me Softly and a powerful Mame) is a wine-sodden ageing actress whose star is on the wane. She is married to a “plumber” (urologist), a talented pianist who is “hung like a chihuahua” but hasn’t touched the instrument – or her – for 30 years.

“B” is a red pigtailed spaced-out hippie (San Fransisco and Dust in the wind) originally named Beet-rice after her mother’s favourite beetroot and her father’s choice dish. She used to sell silk roses but then “worms have feelings, man” so now she sells the plastic kind which she dubs “synthetic botanic prophylactics”. “Fully spiritual”, she discusses ex soul partner Brad.

Overalled Tinicy Rain on your Wedding Day, All Cried Out and Natural Woman) is a shy Afrikaans woman who ran away to get married at 15 to sweetheart Stoffel who was killed in a mining disaster. Working for a cleaning services and struggling to bring up her two children she now lives with Christo who’s into vehicle management (he’s a car guard) and tends to “throw the punches”. This is the only character that doesn’t gel as the songs she belts out don’t match the shy naive character. Perhaps the odd “swig” of the bottle of cabernet sauvignon which all the characters refer to would loosen Tinicy up sufficiently to be brave and vocal.

The excellent backing tracks were by Tim Pullen and choreography was handled by Angela Hawkes. The sound, for once in a Durban cabaret venue, is well-balanced. The stage is elegantly draped with grey material which screens a network of tiny red lights and features some interesting pieces of contemporary furniture.

Once Catherine is able to subdue the intellectual actress in her, overcome a certain amount of self-effacement and introspection and allow her personality to slide more comfortably into each character, the show will be an absolute winner. She’s currently running on 50% projection. Go for it, girl, you’ve got the power!

As always, the Royal offers excellent service and the food is impeccably presented. The Backstage’s menu includes Seafood Mosaic which is one of the most delicious starters I have ever tasted. It combines mussels, shrimps and linefish pieces tossed in a basil pesto with garden fresh greens. The main course is a choice of Herb Filled Roast Leg of Lamb with a Sweet Apricot Sauce or Grilled Kingklip with Mushrooms and Capers served with Sliced Potatoes and Mixed Vegetables. Dessert is Créme Caramel served with whipped Cream and Orange Segments.

Wheelchair Report: Unfortunately, the Backstage does not have a wheelchair friendly access and there are about ten stairs to negotiate before you can reach it. The best plan is to alert the staff before you arrive so that there is a contingent standing by to carry you plus chair down to the venue. Once there, the cloakroom is large enough to accommodate a wheelchair and the staff are more than helpful and accommodating. Thanks to Farewell Gwala, Sbo Buthelezi, Warren Kay and Langa Meyiwa – not to mention, my husband - who had the unenviable job of carrying me plus wheelchair down the flight of steps! Thank heaven by the time the next show moves in, I shall hopefully be on two legs again!




 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