Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre

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TOJonathan Roxmouth scarf pic

If there’s one show I can’t wait to see for the sheer chutzpah, but also because he will probably pull it off, it’s the fabulous Jonathan Roxmouth as Liberace in Call Me Lee.

Who would be so audacious as to tackle a Liberace role hot on the heels of the success of the Michael Douglas movie Behind the Candelabra? But Roxmouth’s instincts in his relatively young career have always been red hot. And again, he probably has it right.

He has Ian von Memerty on board, and Roxmouth can certainly play the piano and sing, and the only challenge is putting on the Liberace persona which should be like sliding a warm knife through butter. It’s going to be rip-roaring fun and probably the one to watch out for at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino where this one is wisely staged in the main theatre – from April 2 until 27. Good timing boys, the country will be looking for some light relief with the elections coming up or just behind us – depending on the chosen dates.

They get together again later in the year with a reprisal of their version of the runaway success, A Handful of Keys. At that stage, it will be time again to let your hair down with a show that probably has the most successful returns of any in this country. It would cost too much serious research to pin down out how many times A Handful of Keys has had yet another run. They were even spotted on one of Afrikaans music’s biggest shows, the annual Skouspel at Sun City. It didn’t seem as if too many in the audience knew who Von Memerty and partner were, so there are large numbers still to conquer.

It’s amazing stuff if you are one of the select few who hasn’t seen it, so diarise August 13 to October 5 in the Main Theatre. But even if you have, this is a dynamic duo.

But first, From March 12 until April 20, Alan Committie and Robert Fridjhon again team up for their new comedy A Load of Bull.

It’s a melange of sketches, songs, the occasional limerick and varying degrees of hilarity, explaining the intricacies of rugby for the edification of what they refer to as the fairer sex.

There’s an exposé on the Blue Bulls (that should have Pretoria scooting across to Montecasino), a history of rugby (and the world), gardening advice for rugby widows, make-up tips for rugby girlfriends and a whole bunch of stuff.

Die Manne promise to lead you on a merry run through mauls, dummies, grubbers, hakas, penalties, pills and pushovers, as well as the notorious sin bin… all in simple, clear language that even soccer players, cyclists and women can understand.

After all of that and if you have any breath left, they’ll take your questions and discuss any topic you choose.

There’s not much left to say about Defending the Caveman (June 4 to July 6) as Alan Committie returns for new audiences – or perhaps those who need to get their annual fix.

It’s been punted for quite some time, and finally The Sound of Music returns once more to local stages from April 5 to June 8.

The local production of the revived London production stars Andre Schwartz as Captain von Trapp and Bethany Dickson as Maria.

The rest of the amazingly talented cast includes Janelle Visagie as Mother Abbess, Taryn Sudding as Baroness Scraeder, James Borthwick as Max Detweiler, Carmen Pretorius as Liesl von Trapp, Rhys Williams as Rolfe Gruber, Malcolm Terrey as Franz and Rika Sennett as Frau-Schmidt. That’s an impressive list right there so it aims to hit all the right spots.

Funny woman Louise Saint- Clare and Greg Homann first got together for One Woman Farce for the National Arts Festival in 2012. At the time, I saw a rehearsal and was impressed with the script and Saint-Claire who had a technical nightmare on her hands with this one. But glided through it smartly if not gracefully. It’s comedy.

She’s one of the funniest women we have on stage. Her timing and acting skills are superb as she tackles a life which all women will fully comprehend. She will have us screaming – in delight and pain.

It plays in the Studio from April 25 to June 8.

Still laughing, Tobie Cronje comes to the traditionally English theatre with the Afrikaans translation of My Fat Friend, Vettie Vettie.

Just thinking of the lean bean- pole Cronje in a play with that title is enough to launch a fit of giggles. But how clever. If there’s one person who could establish an Afrikaans audience in this neck of the woods, it would be their most beloved funny man Tobie Cronje. He knows how to play his audience, but to get that right you have to know all the rules. Then you break them, and he does.

Check this out from May 7 to June 1. It seems Toerien has taken note of the dearth of Afrikaans theatre in Gauteng.

Bobby Heaney comes around second time as director (following Pale Natives at The Market) with a Christopher Durang’s much acclaimed US play Vanya Sonia, Masha and Spike which is staged in the main theatre from July 10 to August 10.

Many who know are still trying to understand why Chekov referred to what most understood to be tragedies as comedies.

Durang gets it and he’s written a hilarious comedy which pokes fun at all the Chekovian dramas. Those who are familiar with his work will get this.

The joy is that if Chekov is your friend, you will probably have an extra giggle or two, but you don’t have to know his work to get this one. Hopefully it will inspire more to have a closer look at Chekov.

In New York, actors like Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce were part of the cast, and it’s going to be fun to watch what Heaney comes up with. It feels like a play that’s as funny as it is smart.

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