BWW Review: AUNTY MERLE - IT'S A GIRL! A Laugh A Minute With Heart For Days
In between the song, dance and slapstick, AUNTY MERLE - IT'S A GIRL! is undoubtedly another smash hit for Cape Town audiences not to miss out on.
The follow up to AUNTY MERLE: THE MUSICAL, AUNTY MERLE - IT'S A GIRL! deals with new dynamics in Marc Lottering and Anwar Mc Kay's heart-warming and hilarious way. Without giving away any spoilers, this latest AUNTY MERLE deals with real-life issues in a head-on way that gives one something to think about when leaving the theatre.
A light-hearted feel throughout, the musical comedy combines feelings of empathy and patriotism through ordinary stories and an original score. Completing this production of AUNTY MERLE is 18 musical numbers with music and lyrics by Lottering. Some more memorable than others, they serve as a wonderful combination of stylistic show-offs to keep you captivated.
Marc Lottering in the lead role of Aunty Merle is infectiously likeable and all-too-familiar at times. Not only is his characterization enthralling as the Athlone-grown tannie, he knows exactly how to work a sold-out audience with one simple move of the leg or twitch of the head. His chemistry resonates with all cast members. Rushney Ferguson as daughter Abigail works well in acting and vocals with onstage husband Julian Place. Equally, Anzio September playing Merle's son Carl is wonderful with Sizwesandile Mnisi.
Carmen Maarman and Jennifer Steyn also deserve a mention as they hold their own as comical forces next to Lottering - Steyn especially proving her worth as a multi-faceted actress having last seen her in THE GOAT... OR WHO IS SYLVIA. Despite having opened 3 months ago, all 14 members of the ensemble gave a performance high in energy and seemed to genuinely be enjoying themselves throughout; making an already enjoyable production all-the-more entertaining.
AUNTY MERLE director Lara Foot has made the Baxter Theatre seem like an intimate slice-of-life with a split design that keeps set changes to a minimum and guides attention where it needs to be at the right time. With Patrick Curtis' set design and Mannie Manim's lighting design, one is smoothly transported from the bustle of the Southern Suburbs to the sleek setting of the Atlantic Seaboard. A live band at the back of the stage also adds a festive and lively feel to the production. Grant van Ster is back as choreographer and proves his talent immediately in the opening dance number. From slapstick to salsa, the creative team behind AUNTY MERLE is a perfect combination.
To be unashamedly subjective: this new musical comedy was one of the most entertaining pieces of theatre I have seen. Homegrown, heartfelt and overflowing with humour it's no wonder audience members are seeing it for the second or third time, as Lottering has done it again with AUNTY MERLE - IT'S A GIRL!
Photo credit: Supplied
AUNTY MERLE - IT'S A GIRL! will be performed at Baxter Theatre Centre until 29 February at 7.30pm nightly, with Saturday matinees at 3pm. Ticket prices range from R125 to R225 and can be booked through Webtickets.