Daniel Anderson sings the praises of his cabaret show, ‘Mad About The Boys’

Daniel Anderson in 'Mad About The Boys'. Picture: Supplied

Daniel Anderson in 'Mad About The Boys'. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 20, 2024


If you missed Daniel Anderson in the recent run of “Vincent”, be sure to catch him in “Mad About The Boys” at the Theatre on the Square.

Written and directed by Amanda Bothma, with Paul Ferreira on piano, the musical pays homage to the legendary Noel Coward, Cole Porter and Ivor Novello.

Set in the 1920s, post-World War I, it follows the success of these artists who dominated the showbiz world with their music.

In a recent chat with Anderson, he said: “This is my first foray into one-man cabaret theatre. It was actually written as a response to the Covid pandemic when the theatre company (Welakapela Productions) took a different approach to theatre.

“We tried to create theatre that can survive in a pandemic, where you don’t have a huge cast; it’s just me and a piano. And then we used to do these garden concerts in East London, which is where the company was based. It was just 20 people, outside, socially-distanced and done on a low budget.”

Anderson has worked with Bothma since he was a kid. They’ve done so many productions together and have developed a great rapport with one another.

So when she suggested writing a cabaret, Anderson was keen.

He said: “So we discussed it and I said I was really interested in the life and antics of Noel Coward. And then she said, ‘Ja, that’s great, everybody does a Noel Coward piece.

“Then she came up with these three boys, the way they moved around in the same circles, dominating the world of entertainment, were friends, colleagues and rivals at the same time, and were living these extravagant hedonistic lives. They were all queer men.

“I mean Cole Porter went to the extent of even marrying a woman who was fully aware of who he was and how he operated. But he just needed to do that to survive.”

Anderson continued: “The play is set against the backdrop of WW I and how the roaring 20s is often mistaken as this celebration of the end of the way, whereas it is actually a response of guilt to those that survived.

“And so they went wild. Drank themselves silly, and indulged in these wild parties with opium and cocaine.”

Daniel Anderson in 'Mad About The Boys'. Picture: Supplied

In contextualising their legacy, he added: “Twenty years before our boys were operating, Oscar Wilde was in prison for being gay and those laws in the UK were only revoked five years before Noel Coward died in the 1970s.

People loved these amazing men but they didn’t love them for who they were but for their personas. That is what the show dives into, the layers of these boys and how they operated in that time and those circles.”

He added: “It’s a musical but there are a lot of upbeat moments, there’s a lot of comedy because they were really, really funny and the music that they wrote was very funny.

“There is this dichotomy that runs throughout the whole show of these witty, world-weary boys out in the open. Even in their songs, there were clues about how they were really feeling about living at that time.

“It’s about their most famous music. What I find most amazing is that there was sadness in each of the boys, which was hiding in plain sight.”

To say that Anderson felt strongly about this musical would be an understatement. He spoke with such passion and an emotional understanding of the characters.

On why theatregoers should watch this production, he said: “I think it is a fantastic night, the music is so beautiful and these are personas people will know through their grandparents and parents.

“And so a lot of people see this as a revue but I believe it is so different, delving deeper into who they were as individuals. The music is very modernised.”

Where: Theatre on the Square.

When: Until March 23, at 7.30pm, weekdays, and at 5pm and 8pm on Saturday.

Cost: Ticket prices vary between R150 - R220. Booking through Computicket. Enquire about group booking discounts.

“Salungano, Salungano Theatre Week”

Soweto Theatre’s annual March campaign to get children into theatres kicks off this week.

This five-day programme comprises world-class theatre shows, edutainment, and fun and interactive programmes.

At this year’s festival, there is a range of shows and activities such as career expos, local theatre productions in partnership with Sibikwa Arts Centre, an exclusive staging of the renowned ‘Disney’s My Son Pinocchio’ in partnership with the People’s Theatre, and art exhibits by Lits’omong learners.

Where: Blue Theatre at Soweto Theatre.

When: Until March 22.

Cost: Ticket prices vary from R50 to R100. Booking through Webtickets.

Shows currently running

“My Son Pinocchio Jr”

If you are looking for something to keep the little ones entertained, then look no further than this classic Disney story at the Peoples Theatre.

“My Son Pinocchio Jr” is told from the perspective of toymaker Gepetto, who embarks on an adventurous journey to discover the true meaning of family.

The production is underpinned by songs that the audience can sing along with, like “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “I’ve Got No Strings”.

The journey of Pinocchio from an awkward wooden puppet to a real boy, thanks to the compassionate Blue Fairy, is laden with heart-warming moments and fun exploits.

The play is produced and directed by Jill Girard and Keith Smith, with costumes by Luciano Zuppa, choreography by Sandy Richardson Dyer, musical direction by Coenraad Raal and set design by Grant Knottenbelt.

The cast includes Caiden Distiller, Kiran Moodley and Ntsako Mtombeni alternating as Pinocchio, Zuppa as Gepetto, Nonhlanhla “Noni” Mkhonto as The Blue Fairy, Gamelihle Mbovana as Mr Stromboli, Raymond Skinner as Cat and Lesedi Mphshe as Fox.

Where: Peoples Theatre.

When: Until April 21. Shows play at 9am and 11am on Tuesday to Friday and at 10.30am and 2.30pm on weekends and public holidays.

Cost: Ticket prices vary between R140 and R165. For school group rates, contact the theatre directly. Book online at www.joburgtheatre.com or via Webtickets.


This family drama homes in on the powerful world of social media. Alex, who is in matric at a private school, finds himself ensnared in a viral scandal. As such, he finds himself suspended.

The decision has far-reaching consequences for his family as well as him.

Directed by Craig Freimond, this production, written by Rosalind Butler, was born from the production company’s script development programme, The Writers’ Collective during the lockdown in 2021.

It stars Charmaine Weir-Smith, Antony Coleman, Nicolas Hattingh, Graham Hopkins and Amelia Smith.

No under-14s are allowed.

Where: Mannie Manim, Market Theatre.

When: Until March 31, at 7pm.

Cost: Ticket prices vary between R120 and R230 via Webtickets. Discounts for students and block bookings are also available.