We all have a little bit of glam diva in us, and nothing makes a diva happier than a mirror or two. Give her a mirror palace and she will quite dramatically fake a double faint or three! We predict that Cape Town will see a lot of fainting come July when Madame Zingara introduces the specially designed, one of its kind, Spiegeltent royally christened The Queen of Flanders, to all Capetonian lovers of glitter and all things magic!
The reveal and new show is in celebration of Madame Zingara’s 15 year successful campaign of bringing only the best dinner theatre entertainment to all in the most jaw-dropping circus fantasy settings. This promises to be THE Celebration of all times!
Rumour has it that the fabulous Cathy Specifc, who takes centre stage as the MC at this grand dinner theatre extravaganza, with spectacular lighting design by Mannie Manim, will have no less than 7 dress changes during the show.
Naturally, being of an inquisitive nature, we had to go investigate. We caught up with Brendan van Rhyn, Cathy’s public representative, at the Madame’s cosy Café Paradiso in Kloofstreet and did some “subtle” fact finding…
Returning to Cathy Specific as Madame Zingara's leading lady is coming full circle for you, since leaving her and the tent behind to play Rocky's Frank n Furter for two years. What has changed since you last performed as her, for both the actor and character?
I would like to say that Cathy is ageless, but she is most certainly is two years older than she was when she left Zingara. It is incredible to be back. I always joke and say when people go to Madame Zingara and I'm not there they are only going to see Zingara's, but when I'm there they most certainly are going to see Madame Zingara. Yes, I left to play the lead in the Rocky Horror, 18 months, and this time round going back, having had a break for two years, she returns with a revitalised look at things, a renewed enthusiasm. I do possibly think she's come back thinner. I think her boobs are bigger and her face can do with a few less lines.
It is indeed a wonderful platform for somebody like myself, who spends most of his life as a female impersonator, to share his craft with audiences. I'm incredibly excited. Before we know we will be up there on stage entertaining 650 people night after night after night after night after night!
What does Cathy Specific have in store for theatrical diners this time around?
I’m hoping that she is also bigger and better than audiences have seen her before. This time around she’s the MC and very much an integral part of the show, keeping it all together. There’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that and lots of skin to be shown off… so very, very naughty!
She is not a rocket scientist which half the population knows nothing about. She is an air hostess. We have all flown, so five minutes after having seen her for the first time you think "Gosh, I can tell her about my divorce, I can tell her about my affair, I can tell her about my naughty kids. I got to tell her I stole some jewellery". She sort of becomes your best friend. She is a familiar face there, and people have missed her. She is absolutely delighted to be part of this dinner spectacular. Bigger and better than last time. Audiences are most certainly in for the treat of their lives, undoubtedly.
Does Cathy approve of all the mirrors in the tent? Was this a special request?
Cathy has to see herself around every corner, so of course it was a special request! She loves seeing her reflection, especially on a good make-up night. In fact, the make-up special effects are so good this time around, we might be up for an Oscar ;)
What do you think keeps the magic of Madame Zingara alive and what does it mean to be a Zingarian?
The most important thing is once we start rehearsing together, and we become a tight-knit cast, the performers amongst themselves most certainly gets that energy going every night. We keep each other going. Not every day is a good day. Not every day is a bad day. We are there for each other and most importantly we are there for the foreigners who have come into our country and showed us what they can do. Of course the audience keeps it alive for us every night as well, they are most certainly there for a party. The tension in that tent is palpable. I use the word tension loosely, because it is not tension in a negative way. You see these hair-raising acts, people three storeys up into the air. You are really sitting on the edge of your seat. And then you get Cathy, who just waltzes in and keeps it all together.
Female impersonators are on the rise in Cape Town. Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?
You need something to latch onto – whether it’s politics the way Peter Dirk Uys uses for Evita or the way I use my personal experience of being an air host for six years for Cathy, you need something universal audiences can relate to.
And I’ll tell you one thing that does work is sincerity. It can’t be bought, it can’t be taught.
If you had to equate Cape Town to a magical / mystical character, who would that be and why?
Jeez, what a question! I don’t think anybody knows that creature, it hasn’t been discovered yet.
Cape Town has its own effect on people and those individuals get out of it what they need. She’s like Cathy Specific – she affects you in different ways – whether it’s mentally, physically or emotionally. You don’t leave her presence without being touched in some sort of way.
At an exclusive preview event, held in the charming setting of The Sidewalk Café on Thursday 17 June, 2015, we were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the planning and design of The Celebration show as well as a tasting of some of the yummy canapés that will be served as part of the show’s menu. Yummy may well be an understatement - think mouthgasm to the power of magic!
Pair that with bubbles and the sheer natural high you will be floating out on after experiencing the most amazing showcase of talent and you will definitely want to make use of the get-home-safe Uber services on offer. First ride is free if you sign up with this code: vhlim.
Want to know more? Check out the official press release here. You can also follow us on twitter and instagram as we will be sharing our event build-up (8 July) and opening night (9 July) The Celebration fun with you there too.