Day 2: A World-Class Performance

Welcome to Johannesburg – a world-class city!  Or so the tourism board insists.  DSCN4487I still question this, but tonight I definitely saw some world-class quality in the show “Stage by Stage” put on by none other than South African theatre star, Jonathan Roxmouth.

I must say, I thought is exceedingly odd that I was walking through a Tuscan themed building while looking for South African things, but I came to the conclusion that that was simply part of the charm – a nod from South Africa to Italy to say, “hey, nice place.  Can we share in it?”.

Monte Casino (for anyone still wondering) is a great place in the Johannesburg for a little bit of fun.  Great place to eat, great entertainment, great shops… and great theatre!  The whole place is designed to look like an old Tuscan village – right down to the pigeons on the window sills – and it’s absolutely fantastic for a night out!  It was at the Teatro – the main theatre – that The Lion King debuted in South Africa.  It was here that I watched Beauty and the Beast and     developed a greater love for Disney, Menken and Ashman, and fairytales in general.  It was here that I fell in love again with a man in a mask who sings like an angel (of music) and writes operas for beautiful chorus dancers. And it was here that I watched Stage by Stage and was reminded of all the reasons I so love musicals.

RDSCN4502ight from the beginning, Jonathan had the audience in the palm of his hand.  He restarted the show four times – once for each time a new passel of late-comers walked in – and each time more hilariously than the last.  He enthralled with humour, story-telling, and fantastic music.  With songs from musicals ranging from Pippin to Jekyll and Hyde to Phantom of the Opera to Les Mis, there was a great variety and many opportunities for the star of the show to show how he became such a star.  I was impressed.  Very.

now in all honesty, I’ve come to expect this kind of quality at Monte Casino – after all, it’s a major tourist attraction.  But doing this tourist challenge I realised tonight that this is another reason to be amazed by this country.  I take it for granted, but as a tourist, this is absolutely spectacular.  This show that l so thoroughly enjoyed was written and performed by a man born and DSCN4504bred in South Africa.  He referenced great South African performers.  He used some of our oh-so-descriptive slang.  He took us back to memorable Jozi moments.  And all of these things were proudly South African.

So here’s to a great man, a great show, and a great country!



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