The Artscape Theatre was abuzz earlier on Sunday night as winners of the 54th annual Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards were announced and there were some surprises but amongst the list of awards dished out, all were richly deserved.
The theatre world has been holding its breath for more than a month since the nominees were announced for more than 87 diverse productions.
Winners are chosen from productions performed at professional theatre venues in and around Cape Town, with theatre creatives recognised for their acting, directing, staging and technical abilities. There were 26 different categories under which they came under scrutiny.
Veteran set designer Saul Radomsky received a richly deserved Award for Lifetime Achievement. Radomsky can be said to have spent a lifetime creating illusion - he became enchanted with the theatre from his time as a youngster when the Colosseum Theatre in Johannesburg mesmerised him with the magical atmosphere it created. Radomsky's work could recently be seen in the set he created for David Kramer's "Langarm."
The Theatre Arts Admin in Observatory was handed an Award for Innovation in Theatre This small but vital theatre is a destination for those seeking stories of triumph against the odds of injustice and does valuable work in giving a hand up to disadvantaged potential actors and directors.
Both these special awards were presented appropriately by Kramer and trailblazer Amy Jephta respectively.
One of the faces to watch over the last years has been Lwanda Sindaphi and he not only garnered an award for Best New South African Script, Kudu but also scooped the award for Best New Director, while the cast of Kudu were awarded for Best Performance by an Ensemble.
Sylvaine Strike has been a name to watch and a voice to listen to in recent years and a bright light shone on her during the evening as she won the award for Best Director for "Endgame" while the Samuel Beckett play was also named as Best Production (Baxter Theatre and Derek Lubner).
Strike's sterling work was also seen recently in Sam Shepard's "Curse of the Starving Class" and Moliere's Tartuffe, both of which were handsomely received. In addition, Andrew Buckland garnered the award for Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Play for "Endgame" as the character Hamm.
His female counterpart for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Play was named as Anna-Mart van der Merwe in "Swerfgoed" as Esta.
Rehane Abrahams' powerful performance in various roles in "Womb of Fire" won her the award Best Performance in a "Revue," "Cabaret" or "One-Person Show." Ryan de Villiers in Matilda the Musical was awarded Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical or Music Theatre Show as Miss Trunchbull. His female counterpart was Carmen Pretorius in "The Sound of Music" as Maria Rainer
The event was hosted in vintage style by Africa Melane and the awards ceremony was directed by Mbongeni N Mtshali, Fleur du Cap Theatre Award recipient for Best New Director in 2016.
Judges for the 2018 productions were Argus theatre critic Dr Beverley Brommert, Africa Melane, Eugene Yiga, Lwando Scott, Marina Griebenow, Maurice Carpede, Peggy Mongoato, Tracey Saunders and Dr Wayne Muller.
* Others to win awards include:Award for Most Promising Student
Nancy Sekhokoane (AFDA)
Best performance by A Supporting Actor in a Musical or Music Theatre Show
Msizi Njapha in Tsotsi the Musical as Boston
Best Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Musical or Music Theatre Show
Bethany Dickson in Matilda the Musical as Miss Honey
Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical or Music Theatre Show
Ryan de Villiers in Matilda the Musical as Miss TrunchbullBest Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical or Music Theatre Show
Carmen Pretorius in The Sound of Music as Maria Rainer
Best Lighting Design
Gareth Hewitt Williams for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Best Set Design
Rob Howell for Matilda the Musical
Best Sound Design, Original Music Composition or Original Score
Lukhanyiso Skosana for Womb of Fire for Original Music Performance
Best performance in an Opera - Male
Bongani Kubheka in Don Pasquale as Don PasqualeBest performance in an Opera - Female
Janelle Visagie in La Voix Humaine as Elle
Best Performance by an Actor in a Play
Richard September in Swerfgoed in Various RolesBest Performance by an Actress in a Play
Nicole Holm in Swerfgoed as Aegistha