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THIS PAST weekend was probably the first time an Artscape audience laughed louder at a rendition of Verdi’s Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore than they applauded. That was thanks to Alan Committie’s studied concentration while playing the triangle during the opening of the Fleur du Cap Awards ceremony on Sunday night.
The 48th annual theatre awards were opened by the Cape Town Opera Voice of the Nation combining their efforts with the Cape Philhar- monic Youth Orchestra to lend an elegant and classical tone to the evening.
It wasn’t all seriousness, though, as the recipient of the Best Actor Award, Elton Landrew, reminded the audience when he thanked his Boesman en Lena director, James Ngcobo, for reminding him that they were doing a play, so he should remember to play.
Landrew’s co-conspirator, Quanita Adams, who played Lena in the same Athol Fugard drama, was not in Cape Town to collect her award for Best Actress (her fourth Fleur du Cap since 2003), but in a letter delivered by her brother Tauriq, she asked for a moment of silence to acknowledge the many Lenas of this country.
The cast of Mies Julie are in London to perform their now award-winning drama, so Yael Farber was not on hand to receive her Best Director award, nor was Thoko Ntshinga there to get her Best Supporting Actress award.
Mbulelo Grootboom was almost overcome with emotion as he accepted his Best Supporting Actor award for his work on Mike van Graan’s Just Business, recounting the sacrifices his family had made on his behalf as he furthered his craft.
Kim Kerfoot crowned an excellent run of Statements after an Arrest under the Immorality Act by picking up the Rosalie van der Gucht Prize for Best New Director by thanking Caroline Calburn of the Theatre Arts Admin Collective, who administers the Emerging Directors Bursary (with the Baxter and Gipca), for her tireless contribution to what he called probably the only award of its kind in the country.
Mandla Mbothwe also thanked Calburn for her work with the largely under-appreciated institution when he picked up an award for Innovation in Theatre, which celebrates the work he has done in creating a new aesthetic in South African theatre.
Louis Viljoen picked up the Best New South African Script award for Champ (Fugard Theatre, April 5 to May 4), while Roelof Storm from UCT was presented with the award for Most Promising Student.
Cabaret almost made a clean sweep with Samantha Peo (best actress), Charon Williams-Ros (best supporting actress) and Peter Court (best supporting actor) picking up awards, with the latter two representing the Durban crew of Kickstart theatre productions.
Dean Balie won for Best Actor in a Musical for his energetic performance as young Kat in Kat and the Kings, while James Cuningham picked up the Best Performance in a Revue, Cabaret or One-Person Show for Sunday Morning.
On the technical side, brothers Daniel and Matthew Pencer took the award for Best Sound Design/ Original Music Composition or Score for Mies Julie, while Paul Abrams picked up Best Lighting Design for the same production, bringing the tally to four Fleurs for the drama.
Angela Nemov (pictured) gave the sweetest speech, thanking the actors of Comedy of Errors for making her costumes look so good that she won a Best Costume Design award, while Fred Abrahamse won Best Set Design for The Kingdom of Earth. Richard Kearns, the knowl- edgable stage manager at the Baxter, was a popular choice for the Lifetime Achievement Award.
This year the People’s Choice Award was made by sms voting and newcomers Sugardaddy Theatre company were a surprise win for their two-hander, I am Hamlet.