Two hit Edinburgh shows for the BaxterBaxter Theatre Centre
A double treat as two hit Edinburgh shows, The Sewing Machine starring Sandra Prinsloo and Normality with Pedro Kruger, come to the Baxter.
Cape audiences are in for a double treat when two Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit shows, The Sewing Machine, starring Sandra Prinsloo and Normality with Pedro Kruger, will be staged in South Africa for the first time, at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from 16 October to 31 October and 10 November respectively.
Presented by Hennie van Greunen of Wordsmith’s Theatre Factory, one of the most successful Afrikaans theatre companies in South Africa, the two productions will run in repertoire with performances on alternate nights. There are nine performances of Normality which closes on 31 October the same for The Sewing Machine, which ends on 10 November. Both productions start at 7pm nightly with selected matinees at 3pm.
Fresh from its recent success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s South African season, the English version of Rachelle Greef’s mega hit play, Die Naaimasjien (originally written in Afrikaans and winner of four major theatre awards), comes home to have its national debut in English. Translated and directed by Hennie van Greunen it received rave reviews (with five-star nods) and played to sold-out audiences at the prestigious festival in Scotland in August.
The darling of South African theatre Sandra Prinsloo has breathed exquisite life into the beautiful character which has captured the hearts of audiences all over South Africa in this powerful drama which combines strong writing, pitch perfect delivery and an intense physicality.
The play won the Nagtegaal Playwright’s Competition award when it first opened in March 2009 and its success was immediate, overwhelming and undisputed. Further accolades include two Fleur du Cap awards - one for Best Performance by an Actress (Prinsloo) and one for Best New South African Script. Since its inception four years ago Die Naaimasjien has travelled throughout the country and has been performed more than 250 times.
In Edinburgh one reviewer described it perfectly by saying: ‘This is a very powerful piece of drama that seems to have made the transition to another language and another culture whilst losing none of its original power. See it, whatever your age.” The Telegraph referred to it as a “delicate, understated one-woman show” and “supremely touching” while The Stage simply described it as an “entrancing performance” .
Susan Mansfield from The Scotsman said, “cleverly and compassionately brought to life by leading South African actress Sandra Prinsloo and Hennie van Greunen, the director behind the wonderful Normality, here on the Fringe in 2009.”
Normality is Hennie van Greunen’s inspiring one-hander which stars the acclaimed entertainer and actor Pedro Kruger, directed by Shirley Ellis. In 2000 van Greunen wrote the musical theatre show Lyf which made its debut at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK). Almost a decade later, after many accolades and more than 400 performances, he translated the play into English. Normality was taken to the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it received five 5-star reviews as well as the fringereview.com Hidden Gem award.
The play enjoyed equal success in the corporate sector when South African companies immediately saw the potential in the show’s message which was perfectly suited for their disability awareness and education campaigns.
Normality is a simple love story between Alex, whose body has been ravaged by Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Lisa, a reporter who refuses to fall for Alex’s scathing, self-deprecating humour and looks past the skewed body to see the man hiding there. The story is hysterically funny in parts and devastatingly sad in others.
The Stage summed it up best saying, “This brilliantly realised multi-layered production plays deftly with our perception of normality while managing to be rippingly entertaining at the same time.” Fringereview.com praised it by saying, “It's an outstanding work, and well worth five stars” and Fringeguru.com said “Expect to be challenged - expect to be uplifted - expect to be changed. But whatever you do, find time to see Normality.” The British Theatre Guide agreed, “Wickedly funny, raw and entirely real, this beautifully performed and brilliantly realised monologue is a remarkable piece of theatre.”
The inspiration for the show has its origin in three seemingly unconnected spheres. “It’s a fusion of three important things and events in my life,” explains van Greunen. “In 1985 Whoopi Goldberg’s groundbreaking Broadway show redefined the one-person show genre and I was hooked. Then there’s the fact that my older sister contracted Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was three years old and finally the multiple talents of Pedro Kruger. This perfect storm of inspiration and talent led to the development of Lyf and now Normality.” Straight after it run at the Baxter Normality will transfer to New York (42nd Street, Broadway) to participate in the United Solo Festival, a festival of one-person theatre.
Booking for The Sewing Machine and Normality is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.co.za or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. Both shows are at 7pm nightly. Normality will be performed on 17, 19, 20, 26, 27, 30 and 31 October and at 3pm on 21 and 28 October and The Sewing Machine on 23, 24 October and 2, 3, 6, 8, 9 and 10 November and at 3pm on 4 November. Ticket prices are R95 and R160 for both productions.
For discounted corporate, block or schools bookings contact Sharon on 021 680 3962, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or Carmen on 021 680 3993 or e-mail email@example.com
What the UK media said about The Sewing Machine
This is a very powerful piece of drama that seems to have made the transition to another language and another culture whilst losing none of its original power. See it, whatever your age.” – FringeReview
“The Sewing Machine is a powerful drama and Prinsloo brings us an entirely believable elderly frail woman.” – FringeReview
“This is an extraordinarily moving and affecting piece of theater that is loaded with quiet strength in both the words and in the performance.” - Edinburgh Guide
“Sandra Prinsloo does a magnificent job playing the octogenarian, Magdaleen” – The Stage
“entrancing performance” - The Stage
“A fine performance” - The Independent
“A must-see, truly’ - The Observer
“delicate, understated one-woman show” - Telegraph
“supremely touching” - Telegraph
“Prinsloo’s naturalistic, beautifully restrained performance” - Telegraph
“cleverly and compassionately brought to life by leading South African actress Sandra Prinsloo and Hennie van Greunen” - The Scotsman
What the UK media had to say about Normality
This brilliantly realised multi-layered production plays deftly with our perception of normality while managing to be rippingly entertaining at the same time.’ - The Stage
‘…is angry and funny, romantic and sad…’ - The Scotsman
‘It's an outstanding work, and well worth five stars.’ Fringereview.com
‘Expect to be challenged - expect to be uplifted - expect to be changed. But whatever you do, find time to see Normality.’ - Fringeguru.com
‘Wickedly funny, raw and entirely real, this beautifully performed and brilliantly realised monologue is a remarkable piece of theatre.’ - The British Theatre Guide
“Solo Performer Pedro Kruger is utterly mesmerizing” - The British Theatre Guide
“played to perfection by Pedro Kruger” - FringeReview
“This play is sensational in every count, immaculately written, acted and directed, Shirley Ellis has weaved a tight little production that effectively uses costumes, music and lighting to create quite possibly the best show at the Fringe.” – hairline.org.uk
“All this is helped by Hennie van Greunen’s sparkling script and Shirley Ellis’ sympathetic direction – and the fact that Pedro Kruger is an accomplished all-round performer” - The Stage
Local press had the following to say about Die Naaimasjien
‘I struggle to find words to describe this tour de force, except perhaps: Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!’ - Deborah Steinmair
‘Here, you witness the power of a performing arts experience that was created, edited, rehearsed and delivered in such a way as to touch the soul of every person in the theatre.’ - Paul Boekkooi
‘That director Hennie van Greunen and actress Sandra Prinsloo who plays the sole character Magdaleen, can give substance to this realism, to make the old woman on stage telling her story a mother, grandmother or life-long acquaintance upon whose every word we hang, is testament to their artistic ability.’ - Steve Kretzmann
‘Die Naaimasjien is one of the top plays I've seen this year. Note, not top Afrikaans plays, but top plays.’ Moira de Swardt
‘Acclaimed Afrikaans writer Rachelle Greeff’s first stage work is the literary equivalent of an exquisite piece of embroidery. It is a simple but deeply touching story of motherhood, loss, ageing and letting go, all told by one of the finest stage divas in the country.’ - Marianne Thamm
‘Magdaleen shuts the wooden lid on her faithful confidant – precious, closer than a friend – for that last time, as they both prepare to move into their next worlds. Having been privy to her memories, my sense of her loss(es) is so great it moves me to streams of tears.’ - Fiona Gordon
For further media enquiries, interview or pic requests contact Fahiem Stellenboom on 021 680 3971, cell 072 2656 023 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or Ally Patterson on 021680 3974 or e-mail her at email@example.com
Baxter Theatre Centre
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Baxter Theatre Centre, Cape Town Western Cape South Africa