The Fleur Du Cap Theatre Awards went down this week in a flood of bubbly and Eskom jokes.
Cape Town's theatre royalty were out in force, mingling their Pilates-toned bums off. Guests were greeted with glasses of sparkling wine and shown to the Baxter foyer, decked in finery and fairy lights.
The actual awards ceremony started more than an hour late but, come on, this is Cape Town. MC, Alan Committie, started proceedings off by appealing to any Grammy-winning theatre practitioners, who may have been seated at the back, to please make their way to the two empty seats at the front. Cough, cough.
Co-host, Evita Bezuidenhout, also tackled Lebo M's allegations of racism in the theatre industry with a rousing speech advocating transformation from within.
However, it should be noted that apart from a cursory greeting in Xhosa, the only two languages spoken throughout the event were English and Afrikaans. Yes, the race card is sickening, but these awards are meant to celebrate cultural diversity. Moloooooo?
All of which made Best Actress Chuma Sopotela's speech so refreshing. The dynamite little thesp delivered a very emotional speech, entirely in Xhosa, in which she thanked everyone who contributed to her receiving the award. Sections of the crowd were on their feet all the way through her speech.
Karoo Moose was the Titanic of the evening, garnering four awards: Lara Foot Newton for Best Director, Henning Ludeke and Koos Marais for Best Prop Design and Best New Indigenous Play (I don't know what that means exactly).
Best Actor laurels went to Committie. He skipped across the stage to graciously accept the award from Bezuidenhout.
Eurafrica won the newly minted People's Choice Award. The award reflects the public's votes gathered on the Fleur Du Cap website. Alas, the two stars, Sarah Jane Scott and Lucy Heavens, were nowhere to be found, despite being spotted by several audience members earlier that evening. After about five minutes of searching, a young woman walked to the stage to accept the award on their behalf.
Her faltering and flustered acceptance speech was the best of the night.
"I'm so excited to be here. I'm not actually involved with the production, but I am an aspiring actress. I'm really good, so please offer work to me. Thank you." Carpe diem.
Sadly, she neglected to leave her name and contact details.
The entertainment between the awards was fun. Composer Neo Muyanga's collaboration with Jazzart yielded a very moving modern dance act. Afrikaans hip-hop star, Jits-vinger, and Khoi Khonnexion affiliate, Jethro, provided some spectacular vernacular grooves that provoked scandalised looks from more conservative audience members. Gloria Bosman brought the curtain down with her powerhouse vocals.
Then it was off to the foyer for nibbles and drinks with the well-heeled masses. Sashaying through the crowds with a delicately balanced plate of sushi and soy sauce should not be attempted after a few glasses of bubbly.
Once all reserves of small-talk were exhausted, it was time for a hasty retreat. Theatre-types on the tail-end of an open-bar are a scary prospect.