Having a good old laugh at life itself

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TO kate and ilse . Trio in tandem: Kate Normington and Ilse Klink team up with musical director Rowan Bakker.

TWO irreverent actresses have joined forces and the idea is, says actress/singer Ilse Klink, “to have fun”.

It’s time to create their own work, they believe, and with that in mind partner in crime Kate Normington has written a script taking what they know best – backstage banter and some pretty personal stories – with a song or two thrown in to show off those magnificent voices.

With her script in hand, Normington bumped into Klink and knew she would be perfect for the show.

“We had often worked together, had laughed and cried together, and sometimes even fought – everything I write about,” she says about Two in the Bush, which opens at Sandton Auto & General Theatre on the Square tonight and runs until July 19.

Getting back to the writing, Normington called in the help of Greg Viljoen (writer of The Last Moustache), whom she knew was wacky enough to get where she was going, then director Jaci de Villiers started editing and ridding the script of any excess.

“Backstage is the heart of the theatre,” says Normington, and that’s the one place audiences never see. Who doesn’t want to be part of that sacred space?

“We wanted to play with who we really are,” says Klink. “It’s all we’ve got!” Talk sturm und drang, trials and tribulations – all those cliches – and you’ve got the picture.

They have put together a cast with great balance and sharp acting skills, even if Klink believes Normington has the better comic timing of the two.

They’re talking auditions, another holy cow, and then some skits built around that scenario. But they’re waving the flag colourfully. “We want everyone to enjoy the evening,” says Klink.

Taking their own place in the industry into account, they play around with their forgotten ingénue status, which has pushed them as actors to reinvent themselves.

That’s what the show is about – but they’re also pushing the envelope, they believe, with their own careers.

“What’s happened to ripened maturity?” asks Normington.

When it comes to music, they opt for comedic songs from classics that will probably be familiar to most in the audience, “but many of them are epic numbers and we’ve cut them down,” says Klink. In fact, they’re pushing the comedy rather than the music.

It’s about not getting the audition (which actually happened with Spamalot, opening at the Joburg Theatre next month), shaming the critics, losing the boyfriend… and the humiliating list goes on.

But these plucky ladies are survivors. Their abundant talents make them such an appealing duo.

“The songs fit into the show, rather than the sketches having been written to serve a song,” says Normington.

It’s sassy, witty, irreverent and light – in the intimate way embraced by the Theatre on the Square.

“We wanted to have a say about our careers, and not always have to look to other people,” says Normington.

And it’s been freeing – even if they’re terrified. But it can’t not be funny, they agree.

In the past few days, there have been a lot of giggles, and already they know there are a few moments where they don’t dare look at one another – so expect some corpsing, which is always fun in this kind of comic battle.

With musical direction by Rowan Bakker, it’s all systems go. We wish them luck and hope this is the start of a series of shows where the women are in charge.

• Bookings can be made by calling the theatre’s box office at 011 883 8606, via Strictly Tickets at 082 553 5901, or online at www.strictlytickets.com.


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