Scene It: Old school charm and a fun show combo with No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, the Musical

November 7, 2015

Sometimes you just want to have fun, and holiday time definitely qualifies as one of those ‘sometimes’. When that fun is of a musical nature, you definitely have a recipe for a relaxing theatre night out.


This holiday the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel teams up with Rosebank Theatre’s award-winning director Nicholas Ellenbogen to bring to stage a toe-tapping twist adaption of Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling series No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.


The venue is pure old school charm that delights the visual senses, the perfect setting in which to enjoy 12 songs composed by Freshly Ground’s Josh Hawks. The music takes you on an amusing African influenced tour as the characters grapple with issues of morality and love. This is all mostly done in a very humorous manner.


Although the over-dramatization of complex situations for the sake of comedic effect does have its place, some people may find it too much at stages. Depending on your background and sensitivity you may find that what others laugh at rather hits a note of concern with you. Though, as with anything in theatre,  subjective perspective influences the way in which anyone experiences a production. Honestly, we doubt that making light of heavy issues in this production is done with any other agenda than to allow the audience and characters to laugh their cares away. On opening night the laughs from the audience were definitely constant and exuberant.

To be fair to the show, and because we wanted to measure our impression of it as a light-hearted fun night out against another theatre fan’s views, we asked fellow patron, Henriette Swanepoel, to share her #SceneIt thoughts:


“Overall it was a great night out. The magic of theatre was captured in this performance - with only a few props and a few very good actors, we were transported into Botswana's No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. The actors were sublime, being able to switch from one character to the next in the blink of an eye. Small details were added - like the VIP seating area was called the President's box. The best scene overall, was the song 'Snake Snake Snake' - which I caught myself singing the next day.”


It is also no secret that Faz is a huge magic fan, so for her a highlight was definitely when she realised No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency has a magical musical twist:


"Fantastic stage magic was on display for the emotionally-charged death scene of the lead character's father. The cast, with their boisterous singing and dancing, deftly moved a curtain between them and the deceased character , before making the afore-mentioned vanish before your very eyes, with just a swish of the material! Misdirection of the highest calibre and totally unbelievable... That this astonishing act took place on the tiniest of theatre stages within full view of a packed audience and performed by muggles ( non-magical performers) no less,  is all the more impressive and the best version of the famed vanishing effect that I've seen in a while."


Now when a show has magic, talented actors that can morph into numerous characters and ear-worm inducing tunes, all set in the comfort of the luxurious Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel as a venue, a show of such musical delight is definitely worth a spot on your holiday fun calendar. Tickets are R250 and can be booked online at Webtickets.


Want to make it an extra special theatre night out, why not consider doing a two course pre-show dinner (R250, booking essential), or even making a staycation of it too. For more information on their luxury accommodation R2 995 per night for two people overnight option, you can drop them an email at for more information.



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