Find the perfect dress for every occasion...
ONS VIR JOU
PLAYWRIGHTS: Deon Opperman and Sean Else
MUSIC: Johan Vorster
CAST: Rouel Beukes, Zanne Stapelberg, Vaughan Gardiner, Marisa Drummond , Stephen Jennings and others
Venue: Artscape Opera House
Until: October 20
Ons Vir Jou is a sad reminder of just how fractured our past as a nation has been.
There have not just been divisions between black and white, but also between white and white (Anglo Boer War), as well as between black and black (the times of the Mfecane) Ons Vir Jou is the story of Boer general Koos de la Rey during the horrendous time of the Anglo-Boer War, just over a century ago. His wisdom, magnanimity and charisma are well presented in this musical. It is a story that still stirs strong passions (witness the audience’s responses on several occasions) among Afrikaners.
As a musical it has all the right ingredients in all the right proportions: love, drama, passion, comedy, and folklore. The text is well crafted for maximum effect. What was disappointing was that writer, director and producer, Deon Opperman, felt it necessary to introduce the work with a self-exonerating speech. He should have let the work speak for itself.
The music (composed by John Vorster and arranged by Devereaux van den Hoven) is emotionally effective, if not particularly original. There are powerful war anthems, stirring love songs, deeply tragic laments, and a healthy dose of much-needed humour. It is recorded to perfection with good balance between the instruments.
Sets (by Stan Knight) and costumes (by Sarah Roberts) are carefully understated, allowing the characters and drama to transcend them. Stage changes and direction were smoothly effected.
Rouel Beukes convincingly portrayed the multi-faceted Boer general: family man, military genius, Christian, courageous yet fearful. He is dramatically strong and vocally a force to be reckoned with.
His wife Nonnie was played by Zanne Stapelberg. Her stage presence was good and she sang well. But her operatic vocal style is unsuited to this type of musical.
Vaughan Gardiner (Adaan) and Marisa Drummond (Mariaan) beautifully played the ill-fated lovers. Indeed, their love duet was a highlight of the show. And apart from Beukes, Drummond by far has the most beautiful voice on stage.
Others in the cast: Stephen Jennings (Methuen), Neels Coetzee (Seer), Cobus Venter (Kleinboet), Sasha Stroebel (Meisie), Fezile Mpela (Samuel) and Lyall Ramsden (Thomas).