Apple Face at Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre Cape Town

Brett Williams, Juliette Pauling, Pierre Malherbe – Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre

“That which is seen, cannot be unseen; unless that which is seen was never seen in the first place. Or maybe it was seen, but not quite in the way it happened. If it even happened at all.”

Apple Face – Alexander Bar and Theatre

Plot

Last night I saw Apple Face, a witty, avant-garde comedy written by Pierre Malherbe, directed by Adrian Collins, and performed by Malherbe and two other talented actors – Juliette Pauling and Brett Williams. The story unravels during an outdoor music festival where plans for a “40th birthday celebration turn sour when somebody witnesses something disturbing” – or did they?

Review

A WeekendSpecial review by Megan Furniss – Cape Town “improviser, performer, writer, and playwright” – describes the play as “layers of completely confusing, mind altering, drug swirling, but totally hilarious weird shit”. I admit that as an American – but frequent visitor to Cape Town – considerably older than most of the audience, finer points of the play’s South African slang and humor escaped me.

Brett Williams – ERM Stars

Regardless, it was still a hilarious, enjoyable performance. I’ve been on the road since October 2018 and feeling a bit dizzy with many new places and experiences to absorb. Being back in Cape Town is a treat, and I’m always up for a provocative, entertaining evening at Alexander Theatre!

Pierre Malherbe – Twitter

Pierre Malherbe Writer and Actor

Apple Face is Pierre Malherbe’s “first self-penned show”. He plays Phil who is with Ryan at a music festival. Furniss describes Ryan and Phil as “hapless friends who are a combination of loser, Allenesque whiner (reminiscent of Woody Allen), naïve chump, drug-fueled paranoid, and completely-too-old-for-the-joll wankers”.

Malherbe has 20 years of theater experience. He’s written and performed multiple stand-up comedy and one-man shows. Performances include Louis Viljoen plays, David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity In Chicago, and Brent Palmers The Visit. His camera credits include Black Sails, Roots, Troy: Fall of a City, and the SAFTA award winning short film Armed Response.

Juliette Pauling Actress – View Artist APM Artistes Personal Management

Juliette Pauling Actor

Juliette Pauling presents a brilliant portrayal of three-in-one character – Chelsea, Sarah, and Jennifer – the “young party girl/girlfriend/serial killer/manipulator” who messes with Phil’s “fragile and hallucination-prone mind”.

Apple Face – Alexander Bar and Theatre

Pauling received a BA in drama from Rhodes University and performed at the South African National Arts Festival. She appeared in YouTubeZA’s Suzelle DIY, the TV series Tali’s Wedding Diary, and now Apple Face.

Brett Williams Actor

Brett Williams plays Phil’s friend Ryan. He’s a seasoned actor and sometimes described as a “reluctant entrepreneur with a penchant for karaoke”.

Adrian Collins – Alexander Bar

Adrian Collins Director

Adrian Collins directs Apple Face with “delight and a deep understanding of how to get the actors to play the funniness”. A successful actor himself, Collins made his directing début in 2016 with A Steady Rain at the Fugard Theatre. In that production he and Nicholas Pauling portray the tormented lives of two Chicago police officers, Joey and Denny. Their efforts resulted in Collins and Palmer being nominated for Fleur du Cap awards for Best New Director and Best Actor.

Silkworm at Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre Cape Town

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Taryn Bennett Actress – twitter

Silkworm is a one-person, award-winning theatrical performance exploring the “ordinary things that make life extraordinary”. Artists who can captivate their audience non-stop for a solid hour are amazing! Taryn Bennett does that in her portrayal of Georgina, a “gregarious and socially awkward” young woman “about to have the single most important day of her life” – revealed in the final moments of the show.

Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre Cape Town – Alexander Bar

During her performance, Bennett interacts with the audience. She uses “storytelling and clowning techniques borrowed from Florence Italy’s Helikos School of Theatre Creation”. The “whimsical” performance combines humor with stark reality and leaves a deep impact.

Jenine Collocott Director – ABOUT Contagious

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“Did you know that silkworms only live for about a week? I think…. You can check that on Google.”  Georgina

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Jenine Collocott Director

Silkworm – a Contagious Theatre production – is “conceived and directed by Jenine Collocott with additional dramaturgy by Nick Warren”. Based in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Contagious combines the talents of several “critically acclaimed theatre makers with long-time Fringe producers”.

Nick Warren – djnickwarren

“Jenine studied theatre creation at Helikos in Florence. Her production Making Mandela won the 2016 Naledi for Best Youth Production and was most recently selected as part of the Assitej World Congress Main Programme. Much of Collocott’s work has travelled internationally.”

Taryn Bennett – contagioustheatre.co.za

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“Contagious produces independent fringe theatre that brings the creative freedom, simplicity, and energy of the festival circuit to mainstream audiences.”

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Taryn Bennett – ABOUT Contagious

Taryn Bennett Actress

Taryn studied theatre at Rhodes University and has performed for TV, on stage, and at the National Arts Festival. Her critically acclaimed Silkworm performance won a 2018 Ovation Award. Recently Taryn’s performance in The Old Man and the Sea was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 2018 Naledi Theatre Awards.

Making Mandela – Contagious Theatre

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“Clowning is about spotting, understanding, and surpassing individual and/or collective difficulties with the help of clown resources and theatre interactivity”. Les aventures de Zippo le clown

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Silkworm

Silkworm is “described as a dollop of humor and a touch of whimsy”. The theatrical production uses “clowning storytelling techniques”.

Taryn Bennett – alexanderbar.co.za

In Silkworm “the clown is influenced by the audience”. Members of the audience determine parts of the show and “no two shows are the same”. For the clown, “the audience is really there”. “There’s no fourth wall.”

Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre Cape Town – PlacesMap.net

Theatre Clowning is essentially an intuitive style of storytelling that’s quite naive yet super sophisticated. If a person is able to access the child within themselves, they will be taken on the journey with the clown.”

The Snow Goose – Knysna Arts Festival Contagious Theatre

Silkworm is a brilliant theater performance! It was a memorable evening!

The Emissary Alexander Bar and Café

Emily Child and Andrew Laubscher

Emily Child and Andrew Laubscher – The Emissary

Yesterday I attended a Cape Town Fringe Festival performance – The Emissary – at Alexander Bar and Café Theatre. Written and directed by South African playwright Louis Viljoen, the gripping two-actor play stars impressive award-winning actors Emily Child and Andrew Laubscher. The short production is a “dark study of a friendship rooted in a lie”.

Plot Summary

“While waiting for her long-term boyfriend Patrick to return from an extended stay overseas, Delia agrees to meet Douglas, Patrick’s best friend, to discuss the tensions brewing between them since the beginning of their relationship. One of them is hiding something terrible and this is the night when old wounds and secrets resurface. What follows is an unnerving examination of two troubled people who think they know each other, but have no idea what awful things can lurk in the soul.”

Louis Viljoen

Louis Viljoen Playwright and Director

Louis Viljoen Playwright and Director

Louis Viljoen is a Cape Town based playwright. He’s the Writer in Residence for The Fugard Theatre. No nonsense, self-taught Viljoen helped create the successful short-play initiative “Anthology” which had three successful seasons at the Alexander. He won Fleur Du Cap awards for his plays Champ (2013) and The Kingmakers (2015) and in 2015 the Rosalie van der Gucht Prize for New Directors for The Pervert Laura.

Emily Child Actress

Emily Child A Certain Lady

Emily Child Actress

Emily Child graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Theatre and Performance Degree. She performs independently and as a member of the acclaimed Cape Town based theatre troupe – The Mechanicals.

An accomplished actress, Child has won many awards and nominations, including the 2015 Fleur Du Cap for Best Actress for the role of “Laura” in Viljoen’s The Pervert Laura. Some of her other theatre projects include King Lear and Viljoen’s Champ which traveled to the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in 2013.

Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre

Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre

In 2014 her one woman show, A Certain Lady, based on Dorothy Parker’s short stories and directed by playwright Greg Karvellas, performed around Cape Town. Recently Emily appeared in Born in the RSA at The Baxter Studio Theatre and Grahamstown Festival directed by Thoko Ntshinga. She also starred in UK playwright Mike Bartlett’s production Contractions performed at Alexander Theatre.

the-pervert-laura-poster_7a2a29c5844ec5929484d5acc80316f1

Billboard The Pervert Laura

On camera Emily’s projects include the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) winning series Armed Response and BBC’s youth series Young Leonardo. She stars in two compelling feature films to be released in 2017 – Director Craig Freimond’s Beyond the River and Shirley Adams written by South African filmmaker Oliver Hermanus.

Andrew Laubscher

Andrew Laubscher Actor

Andrew Laubscher Actor

Andrew Laubscher is a Cape Town based film and theatre actor. Andrew’s performance highlights include Mirror, Cosi, As You Like It, Antony and Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Scandinavian playwright Jorgen Lovborg’s play Lovborg’s Women.

In 2014 Andrew won the Fleur de Cap Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance as Riff-Raff in The Rocky Horror Show. His most recent work includes Anthology: Anti-Matter directed by Louis Viljoen and the compelling South African film Modder en Bloed – Blood and Glory in Afrikaans.

Laubscher graduated from the University of Cape Town’s School of Drama. He’s involved in children’s theatre, Shakespeare at Maynardville, and productions for The Mechanicals and The Pink Couch, including Mafeking Road, an adaption of short stories by South African writer Herman Charles Bosman.

Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre

Alexander Bar, Café and Theatre

The Emissary is a shocking play and the edgy performances of both actors were extraordinary! I planned to stay for dinner at the Café but was so taken by the performance needed to get outside and walk. I met a French tourist on the patio who was also reeling from the play and after a second viewing still dazzled by the high-quality acting.

Andrew Laubscher and Emily Child

Andrew Laubscher and Emily Child

This was the last run for The Emissary but several other plays are appearing at the Alexander. I enjoyed the atmosphere and will return for more entertaining performances by talented actors, playwrights, and directors in a theatre-rich city.

A Steady Rain – Fugard Theatre

Actors Brent Palmer and Nicholas Pauling

The Fugard Theatre’s powerful production A Steady Rain doesn’t disappoint. I attended the pre-opening of playwright Keith Huff’s award-winning Broadway hit last night and was transfixed by the high-quality performance! Before the Fugard run, actors Brent Palmer and Nicholas Pauling performed the two-man play for sold-out audiences at the Alexander Bar, Café & Theatre.

Palmer and Pauling are brilliant in the “gritty, rich, and entirely gripping noir tale of two morally compromised Chicago police officers whose inner need to serve and protect consumes them and rips them apart”. The play takes place with two actors and a simple set of three props (two chairs and a table) highlighted by excellent lighting. The scenes alternate between “separate monologues and present-moment dialogues” requiring the actors to memorize an incredible amount of text. They slay the Chicago accent!

Nicholas Pauling and Brent Palmer

Nicholas Pauling and Brent Palmer

After years as a successful actor, including a role in the television series Black Sails filmed in Cape Town, Adrian Collins makes his début directing the production. Collins and Palmer were Fleur du Cap award nominees this year for Best New Director and Best Actor.

A Steady Rain takes the audience on a “riveting, relentless journey”. Huff uses “razor-sharp story-telling” to portray the tormented lives of two Chicago police officers, Joey and Denny, who are longtime beat partners and childhood friends.

Director Adrian Collins

Director and Actor Adrian Collins

“Joey and Denny have serious problems. Joey struggles with alcohol while he secretly obsesses over Denny’s wife. Denny is resentful, aggressive, and a racist cheater. During the course of the compelling and devastating narrative, the audience is kept white-knuckled right until the moment the lights go down”.

Nicholas Pauling and Brent Palmer

Joey and Denny

The plot recounts a real-life event involving infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s encounter with the Chicago Police. It focuses on the policemen who “unknowingly return a Vietnamese boy to the cannibalistic serial killer who claims to be the child’s uncle”. When the boy becomes Dahmer’s latest victim the two partners are pressured to take responsibility for their gross negligence in assessing the situation. As the play unravels it reaches a critical point threatening their friendship.

Bret Palmer - Denny

Brent Palmer – Denny

Writer, director, and actor, Brent Palmer is a native of the Western Cape. He grew up in Grassy Park, a suburb of Cape Town in Cape Flats. He trained to be an actor in London. Palmer has appeared in TV and film and stared in theater productions at the Baxter, Artscape, Fugard, Maynardville, and University of Cape Town’s Little Theatre.

Nicholas Pauling-Joey

Nicholas Pauling – Joey

Palmer has written four plays. Two of his plays – Bench and Witness – won Fleur Du Cap awards. The multi-talented Palmer is also a stand-up comedian. He appears at local theatres and has directed and co-written shows for other comedians.

Produced in Chicago in 2007, the acclaimed play won multiple awards. It made its Broadway début in September 2009 starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig.

In a compelling and right-on-the money review of the play Steven Oxman of Variety (magazine) observed, “Keith Huff’s cracker jack two-hander … turns out to be less like the perpetual drizzle of its title and more like a snowball that builds to an avalanche. While Huff starts with a couple of familiar characters — good cop/bad cop Chicago patrolmen with alcohol and racism issues — he deepens them into complex figures, compellingly human even at their most despicable. The adroit character development combines with a billowing narrative to deliver some rattling emotional crescendos…. While he could maybe pull back on a contrivance or two, the playwright smartly sticks to his conceit of piling one worse complication on top of another, effectively investing A Steady Rain with genuine dramatic power and a sense of true outrage.”

Loose strands of the spellbinding plot draw together in the play’s masterful finale. It wasn’t light entertainment but gripping, well-performed drama at its very best. Cape Town has provided an incredibly rich live-theatre experience during this visit!