From 'Cruise' to the Kardashians of Durban’s ‘Family Business’, theatre lovers are spoilt for choice this April

Daniel Geddes in Cruise. Picture: Odette Putzier

Daniel Geddes in Cruise. Picture: Odette Putzier

Published Apr 11, 2023




Where: The Homecoming Centre.

When: Until April 30.

THE iconic English play ‘Cruise’ will be staged at Cape Town at The Homecoming Centre formerly known as The Fugard Theatre, from April 12-30.

Directed by Josh Lindberg, with original music by John Patrick Elliott ‘Cruise’ is the true story of what should have been Michael Spencer’s last night on earth.

When diagnosed with HIV in 1984, Michael is told he will have four years left to live. So, with the clock ticking, he and his partner Dave decide to sell their house, flog the car and spend everything and party like it is the last days of the world.

This one-man play is an emotional roller-coaster at times and at others, a hilarious ode to gay culture in the 80s and how AIDS changed the community forever.

Its staging in South Africa is very appropriate, as 2022 marked the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on the African continent.

Lindberg said in a press statement, he was immediately drawn to ‘Cruise’ due to its powerful message of “acceptance of otherness”.

“I wanted to create a world where each individual story found a home and there are many. A space where each audience member’s personal story felt at home.

“This is what ‘holding space’ requires, what so many stories and individuals, each one of us, simply should have, but sadly crave as absent. No one should feel that they are not enough or that their story is not acknowledged.

“And this play sits perfectly relevant here in South Africa, within our current time. Now more than ever, somewhat sadly, our world still has so much further to travel in terms of acceptance of all,” shared Lindberg.

“To ‘live every day like it is your last, in the present, This story can be related to individual stories and can find (a) home with each of us,” he added.

“Cruise” opened in the West End of London in the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic and was the first play to surface out of the pandemic.

It ran for a month at The Duchess Theatre and due to popular demand and rave reviews, transferred to the Apollo Theatre in the West End, closing in September 2022.

Daniel Geddes in Cruise. Picture: Odette Putzier

‘Cruise’ stars Daniel Geddes in the re-staging of the Jack Holden original work.

Geddes shared: “Taking on a role of this scope and acclaim was super exciting and humbling. It was especially nerve-wracking stepping into Jack’s shoes as the original writer/performer. Can we do his piece justice?”

“The responses from the Joburg audiences in December were a resounding ‘Yes’. This Olivier-nominated play is so important and exceptionally beautiful. I can’t wait for Cape Town audiences to see Jack’s amazing work for the first time this April.”

Bryan Hiles in Jakob. Picture: Supplied


Where: The Drama Factory.

When: April 18 - 23.

‘Jakob’ is a one-man show based on a short story written and directed by Michael Taylor- Broderick, adapted for the stage by Clare Mortimer.

Performed by Bryan Hiles, this is an engaging tale about a strange little boy and about love, light and everything reflected in between.

Its central theme revolves around the issue of prejudice and tells the story of a child who is born different and who is ostracised by the community in which he lives.

The play deals with Jakob's journey through childhood and explores the ways in which he learns to cope with his exclusion. Jakob uses the medium of light and the absence thereof, to drive the narrative.

It is a drama that has been described as ‘indie theatre" and its combination of lyrical prose and technical theatrics propel it into the genre of magical realism.

The cast of Family Business. Picture: Supplied


Family Business”

Where: Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

When: Until April 23.

THE McIlroy family is back with their latest show, ‘Family Business’. Aaron Mcilroy and Lisa Bobbert and their offspring, Kaylee, Fiona and Grace McIlroy, are coming to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the UKZN campus from April 13 - 23.

The McIlroy family are fast becoming the ‘Kardashians of Durban’ but without the botox, backsides and bank balance. What they do have are children of legal working age and they are prepared to use them.

The kids, of course, are reluctant to share the limelight with their parents and are bribed to do so with the promise of extra pocket money.

Directed by Darren King, with choreography by Daisy Spencer and Darren King, this exuberant musical-comedy will feature some great new material - even Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley are rumoured to be joining the cast for a number or two.

And in the tradition of all fabulous variety concerts since the beginning of time, there will be jokes plenty … and a tap routine!

The cast of Passion Play. Picture: Harry Lock

Passion Play”

Where: The Playhouse Company.

When: Until April 14.

IF YOU you missed the epic-scale dramatic production depicting Jesus' Passion, the ‘Passion Play’ during the Easter celebrations, fret not, you can still catch the show, it runs until Friday, April 16.

The play covers the final period of his life from his visit to Jerusalem to his execution by crucifixion and ending with the Resurrection. It is performed by a large cast who volunteer their time and skills as part of their Lenten preparations. The play involves seven months of commitment from a 130-plus cast who receive no remuneration.

The first ‘Passion Play’ in Durban was performed in 1952 when the mayor and community of Oberammergau in Bavaria granted special permission to the Durban Catholic Players’ Guild to stage an abridged version of their world-famous production.

What was first enacted in 1634 in Oberammergau was used in Durban as a means of celebrating the centenary of the arrival of the missionary Oblate priests of Mary Immaculate, who arrived in South Africa in 1852.

Michael Richard and John Kani in Kunene and the King. Picture: Supplied


Kunene and The King”

Where: SA State Theatre.

When: From April 13 until May 7.

STARRING theatre giants Dr John Kani and Michael Richard, “Kunene and The King” is set to make its debut at the SA State Theatre on April 13. The production runs until May 7.

The showcase is in accordance with the production’s nationwide tour, which kick-started last year in Johannesburg.

“How do you put a nation’s history on stage?” In this remarkable play, Kani as formidable a writer as he is an actor does it through a confrontation between two men who represent polarised aspects of the South African experience.

Marking 25 years since the country’s first post-apartheid democratic elections, the play becomes an exploration of race, class, politics, theatre, and the potentially unifying power of Shakespeare.

Directed by Janice Honeyman, “Kunene and the King” is set 25 years after the country’s first post-apartheid democratic elections and tackles head-on the personal implications of the supposed new equality.

The show recently scored seven nominations at this year’s Naledi Awards, which will be held on May 22 at Joburg Theatre.

Alan Committie. Picture: Supplied

Live and Let Laugh (No time to Cry)”

Where: Pieter Toerien, Montecasino.

When: Current until April 16

IN HIS 25th solo stand-up show, funny-man Alan Committie, takes his inspiration from the 25 James Bond movies that have been released over the last 70 years.

Comically exploring stunts, espionage, sex and relationships, international travel, gadgets and, above all, double entendres, Committie once again returns with his usual madcap verbal humour and physical hi-jinx.

This show includes a special appearance by intrepid international (read: large parts of Free-State and Upington) security guard Mr Johann Van Der Walt and his “Jaws”esque dentures.

Audiences can also expect a flip-chart, attractive women, action and suspense galore and a climactic ending (which may or may not involve a xylophone, two rabid porcupines and an inflatable Renault Clio).