#CallMeLee

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

I had the great pleasure of being invited to the rehearsals of #CallMeLee a while ago with my blue eyed boy wonder son @LJ_Cadger, who is a huge @WesleeLauder fan.
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At one point @ianvonmem @JonathanRox and @_RoelofColyn was all in one room with me. I literally held my breath.  This is the cream of the crop, the cherry on top of gifted pianists! Such joy! #blessed!!!!

Enter my fabulous friend @WesleeLauder who introduced me to @samuel_26_hyde and my day was made.

@ianvonmem sitting a few chairs away directing #CallMeLee… I thought to myself, nothing compares to the feeling that watching,  experiencing and seeing a box of theatrical tricks unfold before me.

It is an excitement filled with expectation and wonder.  I am Dorothy in my red shoes,  Alice in Wonderland going down the rabbits hole… and on the other side –  I am whole.  Content. Fulfilled.  Fed. My soul rejoice. I feel with sincerity sorry for people who do not have something in their lives that is that fulfilling.

I had no idea what to expect from #CallMeLee.  Thankfully I am always in for a treat when the visible and invisible curtain raises… and by the end I cried and gave these talented performers a standing ovation. WOW!
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The following is from the official press release:

Multi-award winning theatre star Jonathan Roxmouth is back with his new piano show, CALL ME LEE! Following the success of A HANDFUL OF KEYS, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and most recently, SUNSET BOULEVARD, Roxmouth pays tribute to Mr. Showmanship – Liberace – “Lee” to his friends – in this concert biography with lighting by Denis Hutchison and direction by Ian von Memerty.

In CALL ME LEE, Roxmouth traces the journey of the man who became Liberace through the well-known classics that made him a showbiz icon and popular pianist for more than 40 years. Everything from the Boogie Woogie to the Beer Barrel Polka, Tchaikovsky to Chopin and of course nostalgic hits like “I`ll Be Seeing You” and “I`m Always Chasing Rainbows” make up a selection of music that guarantees something for everyone.

Joining Roxmouth as Liberace onstage are two exciting new talents. Weslee Lauder and Samuel Hyde play all the colourful characters in Lee`s life from his brother George to his long-time manager Seymour Heller all the way to Frances Liberace: Lee`s “Mom”! CALL ME LEE also features some of the most lavish, glittering costumes (and fur coats) seen on the Theatre on the Bay and Montecasino stages by glittering designer Lena Olivier worthy of the memory of Mr. Showmanship.

Music. Glitter. Laughter. What more do you need for a great night out at the theatre?

Jonathan phoned me yesterday while I was in the bath tweeting as one does…. and this is the interviewed that followed :

1.  Why the need for #CallMeLee? Where did the birthing process start?

I have always wanted to do a show about him and never understood why there wasn’t one out there already. He was a completely unique theatrical phenomenon and it cried out to be brought to the stage. I finally took the leap and am so proud of what has come out of it. 

2.  How difficult was it to prepare for such a complex character as the man himself was? During rehearsals, you make it look effortless. 

Surprisingly difficult actually. He has been parodied by everyone from comedians to the recent film starring Michael Douglas. People single out the “camp” factor and turn him into a treacly joke. He was more than that. He exuded child-like joy when in front of an audience and was regarded as one of the nicest people in show business. To try and capture the truth of the man was my goal. Not the curtain calls, the moments after those backstage and with his family.

3.  In my view,  you are one of the most outstanding pianists in our country.  What drew you to the piano?

That’s very kind of you. It was just one of those things. I saw it in primary school and just knew it was for me.

4.  What stood out about Weslee and Samuel that they got the multiple supportive roles that they play? 

Weslee gave the best audition I have ever seen. He was Liberace’s mom, brother and agent. I knew he had to be in the show. Samuel came in and sang beautifully and I knew we had found the best Scott for our show.

5. What do you personally enjoy most about the production #CallMeLee? 

I love watching the audience fall in love with the charm of Liberace. We hardly changed any of his “performance” bits and even now – 27 years later – it has them grinning and laughing all over again.
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I look forward to seeing #CallMeLee next week at @Monte_Theatre! All those gorgeous wardrobe changes!
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I wish you enough,
Wenchy

#QueenAtTheBallet

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

Last night I had the privilege to attend @SeanBovim ‘s #QueenAtTheBallet at @joburgtheatre.

I have been pondering my review all day. How do I capture the profound performance of a ballet company so unique, merged – but never over powered by the music of Queen and exploring the raw fire inside The Great Pretender,  Freddie Mercury?

Perhaps some may experience this masterpiece as a flawless performance by a talented ballet company, to the music of a legend that ended too soon.  I would suggest we did not experience the same performance.

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For me,  it was far more gripping and personal.  The talented Henk Opperman’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury was beautifully intense. Breathtaking in depth,  soul destroying in thought. I could feel the struggle,  the torment as to Freddie Mercury’s exploring sexuality with passion and yet with ease.

I could tell you the company was formed in 2009, that @SeanBovim is a genius,  that the show has had two sold out runs in Cape Town and will no doubt experience the same success here at @joburgtheatre. The company makes you both drool and sign a gym membership immediately …. 

It is not seeing a show.  It is witnessing the gift of the arts,  in all its greatness and splendour.

Do you want to live forever?

I wish you enough,
Wenchy

They playing your song!

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”
– Edward Hopper”

Wouldn’t the above quote be so apt if I was not a writer?  I actually sang a small Elton John song when I read it to be honest.  (If I was a sculptor,  but then again,  no…. Or a man who makes potions..)

There was a time last year,  I seriously questioned my own sanity.  More than usual that is… which in itself depletes a medical aid.

I was blinded by my passion,  excitement,  stars,  lights, action! at having found people who spoke my language. I saw opportunities to learn when I should have listened to my inner voice when my husband and daughter on separate occasions said ‘Run Wenchy,  run..!’  (Then again the thought of me running is truly too far-fetched so I can see why my inner voice got silenced with ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’)

To be fair, I learned many things about my new found vocabulary! Good things… and bad things, but an experience it was. One I am thankful for.

I was also reminded that people are self centered,  ego hungry and quickly threatened.  Do not get me wrong,  the threat is perceived. Not REAL – but the emotional reaction is very real. I should know!  I am threaded by billions of woman whom I perceive to be perfect because they thin! How shallow is THAT!

I am under no ILLUSION. I am not a threatening personality!  Loud,  vulgar,  over the top,  highly inappropriate at times,  sincere, loving,  complimentary, emotional,  caring,  funny and  insulting all pretty equally but not a threat. 

But,  as evil does,  you start believing lies.  You are a failure.  You are not good enough.  Without me,  you are nothing.  A bit like an abusive relationship really – tango with the devil darling.  Terribly predictable to people looking in from the outside,  but from the inside,  you are clearly idiotic and deserve to feel crap about yourself.

Then suddenly the veil is lifted and life starts making sense.  Yes I made mistakes but nobody died or promised their soul to the evil Queen in exchange for legs (think mermaids) .  Hey!  You human after all! You apologised.  Move on.  There is no need to beat yourself with a stick. There is no medal for self mutilation.

It took me some to come to terms with the failed tango,  but instead of being an outcast for being a crappy dancer,  I was embraced.  I slipped back to the comfort of being me… And surprise,  surprise – I am loved.  Accepted…. Above all,  I like myself truckloads more.

Yeah,  Wenchy is a tad rough round the edges and you never know what may come out of her mouth…. and apparently that is just the attraction! Imagine that! I was more surprised than anyone. I am sincere.  Passionate. Sjoe,  so people actually do like me as I am.  Yay for them!

Don’t you find following your authentic self so much more alluring than pretending to be what people want you to be? Drama is one thing but  pretending is not acting love. Don’t be silly.

It’s in the details…. As little as making a booking and saying Wenchy… surname?  Nope.  Just Wenchy.  Like Cher or Madonna.  No I cannot compare but I love fake eyelashes!! Silence on the other side.  I’m good with that.

Be your authentic self.  Dance the tango only with a partner who thinks the moon comes alive in your eyes…. and seriously?  Buy the red lipstick.  Tattoo if you like.  Life is too short to care if fitting in will get you noticed.  Live abundantly –  out loud. Sing badly in your car,  but still,  Sing!

Take that shackles off your feet so you can dance… and THAT will be enough.

Wenchy

How to have coffee with an influencer (or me)

I much prefer tea. Cake is good too!

Debby Edelstein

I don’t much like the term influencer. Partly because it’s the kind of label that many people seem to attach to themselves in their twitter bios, not unlike guru and thought-leader.

Still, as sure as I love sour jelly beans there will always be people we want to get to see because of their perceived value to us. But by the law of meeting karma there are always people who want to see us too.

In the democratic world of the social media universe you see, we are all influencers and schmoozers to a greater or lesser degree.

So take comfort dear coffee-hunter in the knowledge that whoever you are chasing, they are chasing someone too. That’s the law of meeting karma. (just check out anyone’s twitter feed for proof)

Considering I have insight from both sides – as hunter and hunted, as influencer and as schmoozer – here are…

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Dance me to end of love.

Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger. 
– Ben Okri
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Those who tell stories come in so many forms. Be it your Oupa sharing war stories (appropriately adjusted to age as you grew) reading a book and exploring the thoughts of the author … trusting you with their truth. Bloggers tell their stories every day.

The excitement of going to the movies.The big screen taking you on a 3D delightful journey in plush chairs with popcorn and green slush (and chocolate when I am wicked).

Observing a painting or photograph capturing a mood. An expression on display for your enjoyment …. Movement, dance, music. Experiencing the vulnerability of a performer standing emotionally naked in front of you as they portray a character.

This is a world in which I come alive. There isn’t a form of artistic expression that does not touch me. My admiration is real. My enjoyment to the depths of my soul. I choose never to part myself from what brings me such joy.

From conception to realisation. Artists in each craft is the bravest amongst us. Crafting our souls by opening their own.

I can never thank you…. Enough.
Wenchy

PS. 15 years today Timmy. How many roads indeed. Forever Young.

Joy

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My dear friends and interesting creatures,

Joy.  Such a simple word to cover a multitude of gratitude.

:  Unexpected visits from my kids.

:  Getting excited about Formula 1.

:  Seeing my husband,  @SirNoid smiling and happy.

:  Not having to sit in traffic daily.

:  Wakaberry!

: #cineprestige at @sterkinekor.  Wow.  Comfort and style.

: When those who thought you would fall see you rise!

:  @LJ_Cadger choosing to stand up for himself.  He has such a giving heart and should not be underestimated.

:  My parents example and bravery in a life lived purely on faith.

:  Spending time with my Aunty Denise while @SirNoid was in Argentina.

:  Gifts from Argentina!

:  @SirNoid coming back safely from over the sea.  Marriage is truly falling in love with the same person over and over. 

:  Having my @kyla_kaizen say she needs ‘Mom time’  and I am that mom!!

:  Meeting incredibly talented and giving people who makes my soul dance.

:  Playing #HayDay and #ClashOfClans.

:  Having something to look forward to next weekend!

: Having @KevvieCartman go on his first business trip to Cape Town all by himself.  I am so proud I am that bad ass child’s mom!

:  Talking to my (step)  son Nick on the phone.  I HATE speaking on the phone so I must love him plenty!

:  Having enough food.  Enough warm water.  Enough blankets.  Enough clothes.  Enough airtime.  Enough data.  Enough love.  Enough mercies new every morning.  Enough petrol.  Enough LAUGHTER,  hugs,  kisses and money for porn nails which bring me joy!

What brings you joy?

I wish you enough
Wenchy

EFC launch at @Sktheatres

EFC AFRICA HITS CINEMAS
Ster-Kinekor & EFC AFRICA announce exclusive broadcast partnership

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I attended the press release at the absolutely luxurious Prestige Cinema at The Zone in Rosebank this morning. Naturally I needed a picture with the contenders! McLellan vs Kruger… since I am a Kruger. LOL

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Johannesburg (South Africa) – EFC AFRICA 28, taking place on Thursday, 27 March, will be screened at select Ster-Kinekor cinemas around the country for the first time, with an eruption of high-definition (HD), larger-than-life MMA action on the big screen.

In a partnership that has been in development for months, EFC AFRICA and Ster-Kinekor announced today (12 March) that fight fans throughout South Africa will be able to watch all 13 bouts from every upcoming EFC AFRICA event, live.

The partnership is launched on the back of Ster-Kinekor having completed the digital conversion in each of its cinemas. Substantial investment in the highest quality, live satellite broadcast equipment and a continuously tested and monitored signal will ensure a stable live broadcast of all the fight action, in crystal clear high definition.

The new format promises fans a big screen, live cinema experience, using the most advanced cinema broadcast platform available worldwide.

“We’re excited to be offering fight fans the chance to see our events in such an awesome, larger than life setting,” said EFC AFRICA president Cairo Howarth. “Ster-Kinekor’s state of the art, digital HD setup makes it an incredible experience, from the first fight to the last. From 01 May, fans in Bloemfontein will be able to attend the cinema too, which we’ve been trying to organise for some time. Ster-Kinekor is leading the way with HD broadcast technology, and we’re incredibly proud to be associated with this exciting project.”

Doug Place, Marketing Executive of Ster-Kinekor Theatres, is equally delighted with the announcement of this new partnership. “Cinema is an evolving sector and we are in an exciting place right now. Resulting from our massive investment in technology and the digital upgrade, doors are opening for us to consider more alternative partnerships such as this one with EFC AFRICA.

“The digital conversion also means that the EFC fights on the big screen will be an awesome viewing experience for the fans. Watching all the live action in larger-than-life high definition is better than it has ever been seen before, and makes for a fantastic night out at the cinema!

“We are focused on continually improving the consumer experience and introducing fresh new offerings and alternative content that tap into new markets and what appeals to those audiences. It is these new initiatives that will ensure that the path to ongoing and future growth in the cinema industry is sustained,” comments Place.

The live Ster-Kinekor EFC AFRICA experience is to be made available in stages, with additional cinemas coming online for future events.

Fans can enjoy the EFC AFRICA 28 HD, big screen experience at the following Ster-Kinekor cinemas:

  • Ster-Kinekor Fourways (Johannesburg)
  • Ster-Kinekor East Rand Mall (Johannesburg)
  • Ster-Kinekor Gateway (Durban)
  • Ster-Kinekor Cavendish (Cape Town)

EFC AFRICA 29, taking place on 01 May, will see the addition of cinemas at:

  • Ster-Kinekor Brooklyn (Pretoria)
  • Ster-Kinekor The Zone (Johannesburg)
  • Ster-Kinekor Cradlestone (West Rand)
  • Ster-Kinekor Maponya (Soweto)
  • Ster-Kinekor Cape Gate (Cape Town)
  • Ster-Kinekor Tyger Valley (Cape Town)
  • Ster-Kinekor Mimosa (Bloemfontein)
  • Ster-Kinekor Greenstone (Edenvale)

Bookings for EFC AFRICA 28 at select Ster-Kinekor cinemas open on Friday, 14 March. Tickets cost R120, Ster-Kinekor SKCLUB, Discovery Vitality or Edgars club movie card benefits will apply. To find out more, visit www.sterkinekor.com.

Avoid the queues by booking online, by calling Ticketline on 082 16789 or you can book at the box office.  You can also secure your seats by downloading the Ster-Kinekor App on your Nokia, Samsung Android, iPhone and Blackberry smart phone, to book from your mobile. To find out what other exciting promotions Ster-Kinekor has on offer, follow @SKTheatres on Twitter or Facebook at Ster-Kinekor Theatres.

EFC AFRICA 28, presented by BetXchange.com, takes place on Thursday, 27 March 2014 at the Coca-Cola Dome, Johannesburg. All athletes competing at EFC AFRICA 28 will wear black armbands in honour of deceased athlete Booto Guylain.

About EFC AFRICA® – The Extreme Fighting Championship®

Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, EFC AFRICA is the African continent’s biggest, as well as a world leading, mixed martial arts (MMA) organisation. The Extreme Fighting Championship produces 10 live events annually and has sold out some of the biggest arenas in Africa. With over 120 athletes exclusively contracted to the organisation from countries such as Angola, the DRC, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and both sides of the Sahara desert, EFC AFRICA showcases the greatest warriors on the continent. EFC AFRICA events are broadcast live in over 110 countries around the world on nine television networks in multiple languages. EFC AFRICA programming is available weekly in 600+ million TV households worldwide, making it one of the most recognisable MMA brands on the planet. Leading retailers stock a full catalogue of best-selling EFC AFRICA DVDs, branded merchandise and clothing and equipment ranges.

For more information, visit www.efcafrica.com, or follow us at facebook.com/efcafrica and Twitter: twitter.com/EFCAFRICA

About Ster-Kinekor Theatres

Ster-Kinekor Theatres is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Primedia Group and is the largest movie exhibitor on the African continent. To most South Africans, the word ‘movies’ is synonymous with the name ‘Ster-Kinekor’. The company operates 55 commercial cinema complexes in South Africa, with five international sites based in Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The cinema chain’s sites house more than 440 large-scale screens, just over 68000 seats and the largest 3D footprint featuring more than 120 state-of-the-art 3D screens across the country.

As the industry leader, Ster-Kinekor has pioneered cinema concepts such as Cinema Nouveau, one of the world’s largest dedicated art-house multiplex circuits, and the luxurious Cine Prestige theatres, the first ‘business class’ cinema experience in South Africa. It boasts the only cinema on the continent that is fitted with the advanced Dolby Atmos sound system (at Gateway in Durban); and has headed the return of The IMAX® Experience, with the opening of the IMAX® Theatre at Gateway in 2013. As one of South Africa’s most loved brands, it is Ster-Kinekor’s ongoing mission to become synonymous with the unrivalled magic of the cinema experience, by providing ‘Great Moments at Their Greatest’. During 2013, the company embarked on a massive roll-out project to convert and equip every cinema with the very latest in digital projection and sound technology. The result of this upgrade is that every cinema now boasts state-of-the-art cinema technology that encompasses 2K and 4K digital projection and 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems. The award-winning SK App, which is downloadable on all smart phone operating systems, is interactive, user-friendly and feature-rich, and recently recorded its 1.3-millionth download. The new-look SK Club loyalty programme rewards members with redeemable points when they swipe their card when buying movie tickets or catering. Combined with industry leading loyalty programmes from Edcon and Discovery Vitality, these give Ster-Kinekor a strong consumer value proposition and competitive advantage.

As the market leader, Ster-Kinekor aims to spearhead the advancement of cinema across both South Africa and the rest of Africa, to ensure that consumers continue to experience movies as they were made to be seen – on the big screen.See more at: www.sterkinekor.com.

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Never too naked #50ShadesOfBambi @TheatreOnSquare

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

I have always admired the people who brings up sensitive topics (sex, religion, race etc. ) and use their influence to bring about change.

…. Then I met Bambi Kellerman,  the younger sister of the first or second most famous woman in South Africa –  give or take if you favour Winnie or Evita! All topics are fair game. My type of woman!

I was thrilled to be invited to the press conference to meet with Bambi and take a selfie with her.  Funny.  Confident. Tackling the issues in our country and parenting our youth head on.  Pun intended.

As a huge surprise Godfrey Johnson joined Bambi on piano and song on stage. Another gifted, talented performer.  I admit I could listen to him sing and play the piano just like the sound of a lonely saxophone.  I think deep down our Godfrey is a deep man… as I have found most creatures in the arts to be.

Bambi is as delightful in character in #50ShadesOfBambi as in her book ‘Never too naked’. I would urge you to escape into her world and enjoy the read.  It is funny,  sexy,  to the point and oh so Bambi! Terrific escapism.

After the show,  I was privileged to chat and pose for some pictures with Pieter Dirk Uys, the creator of both Evita Bezuidenhout and Bambi Kellerman.

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He is a humble, lovable man with a gift for shining the spotlight on that corner we may have missed.  I was deeply touched by our chat on children and how parents should talk to their children about reality… or the drug lord will as Bambi puts it.

#50ShadesofBambi is on at the Old Mutual Theatre On The Square until March 16th. Hurry!

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I wish you enough,

Wenchy

300: Rise of an Empire (2014) – REVIEW

I have invited my daughter, Kyla to be a guest reviewer on my blog as part of the @JoziGem team. I think she is naturally fabulous.

I wish you enough,

Wenchy

300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

Cast: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro

Director: Noam Murro

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After Greek General Themistokles’ (Sullivan Stapleton) arrow pierced through the heart of King Darius (Yigal Naor), his son, mortal-turned-God, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and commander of the Persian navy, Artemisia (Eva Green) take to destroy the freedom and people of Greece.

Whilst King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his force of the Great 300 Spartans battle the Persian invasion at Thermopylae, Themistokles leads his charge against sadistic Commander Artemisia and her Persian Navy on a ragging battlefield at sea, not long after does grieving Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) and her force of Spartans unite with their fellow Greek warriors to take vengeance.

This film served as great entertainment for those left in awe at the dramatic defeat of King Leonidas’ at Thermopylae, Director Noam Murro teams up with intriguing screenplay writer’s Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad to bring yet another thrilling tale of vengeance, power and beauty in a cold, dark setting.

Toned bodies, ungodly skills, strategy and powerful women keep you on the edge of your seat as you hope for the Greeks to conquer and preserve their freedom and lives from the wrath of the Persians.

Noam used talent from familiar films and shows such as 300, Game of Thrones, Casino Royale, The Last Stand, Strike Back, The Hunter and Rendition to bring an action packed story in 3D exciting you through every scene and scheme of these wonderful characters.

I would recommend that anyone who enjoyed films such as 300, Gladiator, Thor, The Last Legion, Warrior, Troy and Clash of the Titans take 102 minutes to enjoy this film.

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Kyla Jean Vermaak