CAST: Nataniël, Lindiwe Bungane, Tonia Selley, Corlea, Nicolaas Swart

VENUE: Emperors Palace Marcellus Theatre

UNTIL: March 31

RATING: ****


YEAR after year Nataniël sparkles with his big show at Emperor’s. The staging is spectacular, the stories hysterically heart-wrenching and the songs stretch across various genres with lyrics that expand your mind.

While the formula is distinct, each season the performer creates a show with subtle changes in the content, the presentation, or the music. This time around it was as if he gathered all his favourite things and put them on stage, whether in music, or in message.

If there was a through line, it was to love yourself and hold on to your truth. And if this sounds preachy, yes, he does that, too, but you want to be preached to by someone who has you laughing merrily as he delivers his sermon.

It’s a show that is as much about beautiful voices as soulful stories. Last year the big-voiced Bungane blew everyone away. This year, she’s teamed with the equally powerful Corlea and the two women with the heavenly voices are given the platform to soar.

Into this mix drops Selley, the queen of scat, with Swart and his more poppy sound a perfect foil for Nataniël’s smooth vocals.

The music is sublime, from Bungane’s rendition of I Love the Lord, Feels Like Rain written by Lydia vom Hagen, Nataniël’s funky My Cow is Giving Silver all crowned by his final Carry You. Top this with the quality musicians with Du Plessis leading the pack on keyboards.

All of this is dressed in a rich folly of voluptuous couture with splashes of red, orange, gold, and the inevitable black and white perfectly placed in a constant flow of storybook pictures with mad cows, dogs that take over the world, banquets of colourful flower couches, coloured lights that stream down from above and a row of the most adorable teddy bears.

Louw has outdone himself, with his generous frocks turning into landscapes for lighting tricks, acrobats tumbling from coats and patterns and textures that clash and collide cheerfully. It’s a catwalk of showtime couture.

The show is exquisitely tied together by Nataniël and his unique storytelling. As he opens his amazing treasure chest that seems to constantly overflow, he lashes out in language that is as captivating as it is cheerful. He makes us laugh and reminds us time and again, that this is his master’s voice. There’s no one to match him.

factory is Las Vegas on classy steroids with songs and stories that rock your soul. Go and get your annual fix.