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Siblings dish up smorgasbord of theatre

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to Ash and Brad Searle in Big Boys 2

Follow Spot Productions are not just taking over the stage at Kalk Bay Theatre this month, but moving into the kitchen upstairs as well.

 

Don’t be too surprised if you run into the characters from Big Boys upstairs at the Kalk Bay Theatre this month.

Ash Searle and his younger brother Bradley may just check your drinks order is topped up before they take to the stage downstairs.

Taking their inspiration from the Cape Town Edge at the National Arts Festival, Follow Spot Productions started a simi- lar all-encompassing experience two years ago when they occu- pied the Highlander venue in Grahamstown, which incorporates a restaurant.

Having to co-ordinate multiple productions with the restaurant’s ability to get the food out on time was a quick lesson in what works and what doesn’t.

They also learnt that there are ways to influence the audience about the choices they make as they leave the performance space.

“If you tell an audience what to do, they do it,” Ash said about incorporating “advertising” into the production.

For the Kalk Bay Theatre they are changing the menu completely, though leaving the actual food production to the professionals.

Where they take the lead, though, is on stage. Big Boys Don’t Dance ended with a car crash and this sequel starts with a potted “what went before” sequence on a fast forward.

“We have to remember exactly where we stood when we were saying what,” said Ash, rolling his eyes.

Again they have gone for situational comedy that almost everyone can relate to – since they set off travelling overseas in this sequel, they home in on the travelling nightmares everyone experiences at some point.

Relatability and accessibility are key to creating works such as Big Boys Don’t Dance, Love @ First Fight, Face the Music and Big Girls.

While they do a lot of cor- porate gigs, their work always proves popular when they bring it to traditional theatres.

“We decided, we are theatre-goers. We love theatre festivals, but a massive part of the popu- lation are not theatregoers and feel intimidated by really hard-core, artistic theatre. We love the technical things, but we try to be commercial and accessible,” explained Ash.

By commercial he means what is appealing and attractive to the regular person on the street… specifically, what will bring in bums on seats.

“We’re not about selling our souls for money.

“We respect and love watching the intricate art, but we have embraced the people who might not know they like it, so we choose a safe way to bring them into the theatre.”

They take a cue from tv sitcoms by looking for the comedy in situations that people go through every day.

“Our favourite moments are when people can sit there when we’re on stage and they nudge each other and say: ‘You do that’.”

Looking forward to next year, Follow Spot Productions will be getting their dance collective off the ground to take on seasonal work.

But for this holiday season they will be tackling the dinner- and-a-show scene, with a personal touch.

 

• Big Boys 2 runs from December 11 to January 5 at Kalk Bay Theatre, excluding December 15, 24, 25 and 26 and January 1 and 2. Doors open at 6.30pm and the show starts at 8pm. Tickets are R100 from www.kbt.co.za.

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