#Constellations @Monte_Theatre @JannaViolante @AshleyDowds by @Brian_Trudgeon

Dear friends and other interesting creatures –

I present a guest blogger, @Brian_Trudgeon with a passion for the arts, bears, writing and drawing. I am sure you will enjoy his review of Constellations now on at @Monte_Theatre.

I wish you enough,


08 August 14 – 28 September 14

What a truly stellar piece of writing by Nick Payne. The play tells of a love story that may or may not have taken place in an unlikely collision of paths. Marianne the Quantum Physicist meets Roland the Bee Keeper at a party.

The story plays out across several parallel universes sharing the same space in time. They meet and it ends there. They meet and Roland walks away from a possible infidelity, as he is a married man. In an alternate universe they fall in love.

In one universe he cheats on the marital home, in another she is the infidel. They part forever, or do they? In another universe, can they re-kindle what they had?

Marianne is played by a very talented Janna Ramos-Violante who has distinguished herself in multiple disciplines winning awards as an actress, playwright and director. Her performance in Constellations certainly is stellar. Her perfect English accent, comic pause and timing are outstanding. I am a fan.

Roland is played by Ashley Dowd, well-known to South African’s as a TV presenter, actor on Scandal and Generations as well as author of a travel journal. His plays a very believable role and makes Roland a very endearing character. The perfect Bee Keeper to a Quantum Physicist. He brings a lot of depth and human warmth to his role.

As a duo, they make for a stunning production. They play off each other very well and keep, what could be a repetitive and slow-moving production very interesting. A perfect casting for a really witty and intelligent thought-provoking piece of play writing.

Mention has to be made of the direction of the award-winning Alan Swerdlow, who has done a masterful job of bringing this award-winning play onto the South African stage. A privilege in view of the fact the play will only make its Broadway debut in 2015.

The set is very minimalist and lends itself well the action taking place on stage. Telling a good story can be done with the minimum of props and lighting effects. Lighting truly was used to signify the switch between universes at most. The soundtrack was all it needed to be. No more, no less. Perfect.

If I am to summarise I would say, a very brave production that explores life and how small changes can lead to a multitude of consequences and outcomes that can be happy or sad. The permutations can become endless. As humans we all play a game of, “What if I had done this or that differently? Where would I be now?” Constellations explores this aspect of humanity in a warm, witty, intelligent and honest way.

This is definitely a thinking person’s play and very well worth watching.

Brian Trudgeon Twitter: @Brian_Trudgeon A forty something IT Geek, want to be great artist. Quirky, Queer, proud father to three with a humanitarian bent. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I have always enjoyed writing and have been published anonymously and otherwise. I can claim to be an accidentally published photographer. In my spare time I like to sketch or write the occasional piece of poetry. Born in me is a great love for live performance of any kind and I have great admiration for anyone who offers themselves up on an altar that is the stage.

#Evita&Co @TannieEvita @EvitaSePerron by @shenayobrien cc @buzpr @EmperorsPalace

Dear friends and other interesting people,

I have invited the very talented, @shenayobrien to join the #JoziGem team. She has very kindly accepted my offer to write a guest blog about the show Evita & Co and meeting up with the first lady of fabulous, Evita Bezuidenhout.

I wish you enough,


shenay and evita

On Sunday 10 August 2014, I had the privilege of attending one of the most inspirational, thought-provoking shows I have ever seen, by none other than the First Lady of South Africa, Evita Bezuidenhout.

The atmosphere was electric as young and old waited to go in to the “Theatre of Marcellus” to experience the words of the woman who has changed the face of politics and social affairs forever.

The performance started with a video montage telling the story of Evita in her younger years. Interviews with her husband, children, various politicians and reporters sharing how Evita inspired them and others. In 2014 Evita Bezuidenhout turned 70. The video included birthday wishes from icons like Pik Botha, Arts Bishop Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela.  It is clear to see why she was, and still is, an integral part of our South African heritage.

Evita stepped on stage with  cheer and applaud from the audience. I am sure many others like myself couldn’t believe that she was standing in the flesh only a few meters away.

The show dealt with the controversy of Apartheid (that we still face today), safe sex, and Evita’s story how she endured and persevered in politics since the age of 22.  There were various character changes as Pieter Dirk-Uys portrayed some of the most loved and despised characters such as Evita’s maid Mrs. Peterson, the Sex-Guru, her sister Bambi Kellerlman (who in detail explained to us how to put on a condom with the help of her life-size “toys”) and former politicians FW de Klerk, John Vorster and Pik Botha.

Humour filled the auditorium, but a serious message was conveyed with all the laughter. We have to stand together as a nation. She referred to the younger generation “We have to look at children. Children don’t have a colour. Children are sweet and innocent, they are not racist”. We always have a CHOICE, be it Positive or Negative, but the Choice is ours, and we have to initiate that for the current generations and those to come.

As the show drew to a close, another video montage came up, as to give Pieter Dirk-Uys time to get back in to his beloved character. In this video it showed a much older Evita, with her most iconic photos and the inaugural of her own street the “Evita Bezuidenhout BLVD” in the town Darling where she is currently residing and running her Restaurant “Evita se Peron”. As she stepped back on stage, she thanked the audience and with a quirkiness said “I’m going up to the foyer, see you there and let’s take a selfie together”.

I had the honour of meeting this remarkable woman and upon taking our photo together she uttered the words “Jy lyk pragtig my skat”. I felt Loved, Accepted, Liberated and Free all at once. Truly one of the most treasured moments I will remember for a long time.




Shenay O’Brien is a young, energetic Actress, Singer, MC and Socialite. She has been in various magazines, television and theatre productions, and has now she has added Blogger to the list.  Talent, Brains and Beauty. Shenay is definitely one to keep your eye on!

Twitter: @shenayobrien  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shenay.obrien.1

Shenay is also available for appearances at private functions, corporates etc.

I use to be Snow White but I drifted…. my birthday gift WISH list for 13 June.


Thank you  for the picture!

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

My dream birthday list…  turning 14 again:

1. I would love a proper purple handbag in Kevin G Friedman style of exquisite taste,  but not in that darling man’s budget!

2.  A Stuttafords gift voucher to buy Sensai foundation /powder.

3. A purple shawl thingie @VictoriaT99 and I saw when we went to look for school shoes at Woolworths in Rosebank Mall.

4. A stylus.  Exclusive Books has some.  Mine broke.  Don’t ask.  Don’t point at my ass.

5. Purple streaks… Just here and there.

6. Nails and toes with Thembisile Munyai.

7. Sunflowers and/or yellow roses.

8. Afternoon tea somewhere fabulous!

9. Killarney Mall vouchers for massage, eye brows, pedicures,  facialbooks…  Dream,  dream,  dream… .

10. Original Ice Strawberry Daiquiri.

11. Anything from Le Creuset, you guessed it –  in purple!

12. Mint flavoured white ice tea from Woolworths. lol I’m serious dammit.

13. White chocolate.


14. Cupcakes.  Red velvet.  🙂


These were baked by my BFF, Will.

Oh the excitement of my birth month!!!!!

I wish you enough,


#MothersDayGiveaway @SterKinekor #WalkOfShame @TheZoneRosebank

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

I have two double tickets to give away to @SterKinekor’s next Girls Getaway taking place on Wednesday, 21 May 2014. Always LOTS of fun! (No gents! Sorry!) The tickets is for The Zone, in Rosebank and you will be joining me as your host. Whoop!


I thought Mothers Day was a great day to give away tickets! 🙂  To enter, please answer this simply question: Which cinema has the slogan:  Great Moments at Their Greatest!? (ensure you enclose your name and e-mail address in the comment section of my blog, which will be your entry to this awesome evening)

Winners will be announced on 14 May 2014, here on my blog, done via a random draw.

I wish you enough,



WALK OF SHAME stars Elizabeth Banks as an aspiring reporter whose dreams of becoming a network news anchor are compromised after a one-night stand with a handsome stranger (James Marsden) leaves her stranded in downtown Los Angeles without a phone, car, ID or money – and only 8 hours to make it to the most important job interview of her life.

@67Blankets for Madiba. A @Carolyn_Steyn initiative. cc @tbdza

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

Since I updated my Facebook status about my involvement with @67Blankets, I have received quite a number of enquiries on how to get involved. Yay guys!

I first Googled ‘How to crochet a square’ because @TimothyMoloi told me that is how he learned . It only confirmed I can’t crochet even with a slow motion, step by step, ‘You Tube’ instructional video.

I then Google ‘How to knit a square’.  Knitting thankfully came back to me from the days of my youth once I was reminded how. Yes,  I am knitting a blanket. Yes,  a purple blanket. 🙂 

PS.  I need someone to crochet me a few small white flowers to put on my blanket please.  🙂  Any volunteers?

Madiba gave 67 years of his life fighting for freedom in his lifetime. On the date of his birth,  18 July we celebrate ‘Madiba Day’ by giving 67 minutes of our time to assist others in many diverse ways. The idea is that you are giving your time to make a blanket to keep someone less fortunate warm.

When I am given a gift,  I say ‘Thank You’. The most undomesticated person on the planet, who struggles sewing a button, is knitting squares for a blanket to say: ‘Thank You Tata’.

@SirNoid reminded me that my hands are not my best functioning body parts (Fibromyalgia is not sexy) but took me shopping for needles and wool anyway –  Thank You!!


As @Carolyn_Steyn says,  stitch by stitch we will keep people warm! I like the sound of that.

Follow @67Blankets on Twitter, look it up on Facebook but most of all, start knitting #KnitWits!

I wish you enough,

VERY IMPORTANT: If you do not see yourself able to participate in physically knitting a blanket, please support the annual Twitter Blanket Drive @tbdza with collection points all over the country where you can drop off newly purchased or used blankets. An incredible project that started with a single tweet from @MelanieMinnaar. Love that woman.

Posted from the second cloud on your left.

Another brick in the wall…

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

If my nursery school report is anything to go by,  not much has changed.

I didn’t like playing outside.  I liked reading,  story time,  music time and acting and dress up.  I didn’t like getting dirty and my mom says I use to get out the car and just go to school.  No wave,  no looking back.  At that point at least I could still count,  knew my alphabet apparently quite early and I could name the colours and farm animals.

I was in the Lion class,  which is not a farm animal.  As you know,  here in Africa we let all animals walk around freely and enjoy our backyards as they like. Terrible for traffic and the odd child being eaten.

Primary school, I remember going to enroll with Ouma Chrissie,  but on the day school started, I sommer went alone.  No shoes.  I am  an Afrikaanse meisie,  we don’t do shoes. I still don’t like shoes.  (Love pedicures btw)

In grade one or two I remember a girl’s parents asked that their child not sit next to me as my parents were divorced.  Yes,  I am sure their divorce could rub off on your child. The rest of that year I sat alone.  I remember learning to count with burnt cigarettes which we made huts with later.

I went to school a year early so I was always the youngest. I was desperate to play netball but you could only play in standard one and I was still a year too young. Being very short didn’t help! Eventually I was allowed to play but not outside of our school. I was too young. I settled in with a group a year behind me at school in the end and I loved it very much.

I did just dandy at school and  I did modern and tap dancing in the afternoons. I didn’t like ballet.  Looked very pretencious to me.  I did piano lessons,  drama lessons,  I played every sport available at school and I was on my bike constantly.  I wrote books and drew the pictures to accompany my stories.  Unless a miracle happened,  those pictures must have been terrible. Good times.

I had the same boyfriend from grade two to standard four.  Hey,  not much of a one night stand kinda girl. He did turn out to be captain of the rugby team so I did ok.

End of standard four everything changed.  My father died and I was to go live with my Mammie and my sister,  Rentia in the city. My boyfriend dumped me.

We lived in Hillbrow towards the end of it being trendy.  Some parts were downright scary.  For the first time in my life I had to catch a bus… with Rentia…. to school.  I was petrified off my surroundings and wondered if my Mom dies how am I going to get hold of my Ouma?

My final year of Primary School was strange.  The school was very poor so they would feed us porridge in the morning before school and give us a sandwich at lunch.  Meals on wheels would arrive.  Seriously.  If you said no thank you, they thought you were just being shy! We use to get vegetables on Fridays to take home and occasionally Albany would give everyone a bread!

The teachers were horrid and liked to beat the crap out of you. If you got 11/20, they would snack you with a ruler 9 times and so on. I wonder if it was an Afrikaans thing.

There was one teacher who wanted to save the world (reminds me of @SirNoid in teacher mode) who on weekends would take us out of town to see a cave or a dam or braai at his mom’s house where we could swim…. and then drive everyone back to school.  Bless his heart.

The school had no extra murals but we played baseball on the red sand at break.  Huge culture shock for me as I use to be incredibly driven physically with sport and dancing. Red sand is bloody hard to get out of white socks.

Oh I won Miss….. Beauty pageant that year.  I got fake flowers for a crown and I think some chocolate. My Mammie and sister was very proud.

I decided to go to art school more because nobody else from this school would be going there.  First day of High School my mom walked me in and I cried like a colicky baby.

Loved my time there. Sport resumed,  plenty of madness. Lots of time for acting and creating chaos.  The teacher made me class captain in an attempt to get me to behave!  Haha!  I gave my badge in the same day.  No way am I reporting on other kids.  Sorrrrryyyy!

I met my friend Vicky there when I was 12. Until today I would kill the bull for her and she has slayed a few dragons for me.  Home wasn’t great (to say I hated my then stepfather –  now dead – is an understatement) but I loved school.  Hated holidays lol.

Brief stint at another school when the English and Afrikaans Art schools joined up…. and I decided I wanted to matriculate in English.  Besides, I am not a conformist.  I did not do well with how long your dress has to be and your hair may not touch your collar blah blah.

After visiting various places of education my Mammie and I settled on a private college where you went to school daily,  in whatever outfit you liked.  It was just like regular school,  minus the crap, plus lipstick.  Giving me freedom, I excelled academically.  I loved studying.  I loved trying to find my feet between Afrikaans and English in all the different subjects. History remains my favourite.  Just not ‘Die Groot Trek’. It is also here where my political believes were formed on the pavements outside and my friends of many colours. I also learned that all black men are not terrorists as I was previously taught at school.

We really are not a one size fit all education system,  we never were.

In the end it was so rewarding for me to have made this weird choice.  I matriculated with two distinctions and university entrance with English as my first language and a hatred for rassism. Smarty pants.

I was accepted at WITS University when idiotic me decided I shall marry instead so I never have to see my stepfather again.


…. and that is where the crap really started.

I wish you enough,

Posted from the second cloud on your left.

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