There is an internationally ignored rock star in Cape Town, and her search for stardom has brought her to the new, glitzy and ritzy Gate69 on Bree Street… “Ladies and Gentleman, whether you like it or not, HEDWIG!!!”
It is a very special moment when a dream morphs into reality. For years I have dreamt of seeing Hedwig and the Angry Inch performed live. As far as musicals go, it is the ultimate form of rebellious defiance, the non-conformist of the musical theatre club. The bad ‘boy’ of theatre… and on 23 September, as I took my seat in the gorgeously lavish Gate69, Paul du Toit morphed into that bad ‘boy’ when he took to the stage as Hedwig in the VRG Theatrical presented South African premier of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
So full disclaimer, I am an ever so mildly obsessed fan when it comes to all things Hewig and the Angry Inch. As you can imagine, it didn’t take much to convince me to put on my bright glitter red lipstick and 10 inch stilettos, and hastily make my way to Gate69 to see this genre-bending masterpiece.
Although it has a bit of a SA reference flair, by way of introduction as to why the larger-than-life persona of Hedwig finds herself in Cape Town of all places, it is still very true to the essence of Hedwig as far as the storyline is concerned. It all still showcases the dejected desperate journey of half a soul in search of his (later her) whole, and having only an inch to work with.
The emotional rawness, the undertone of Hewig’s story, echoes throughout every beautiful note of this production, as the perfect balance of passionate regret and vexatious fury.
Though most people would proclaim “Sugar Daddy” to be their favourite Hedwig song, I personally am a sucker for “The Origin of Love”. It breaks my heart and feeds my soul. Everything about it is an emotional Thor-hammer to the heart, and when I heard Paul du Toit perform it, he brought tears to my eyes. I can’t image any other South African actor taking on the role of Hedwig and fitting the wig so perfectly. Du Toit was born to be South Africa’s Hedwig. This was fated.
Genna Galloway as Yitzhak (Hewig’s husband) is perfection as the passive aggressive background compliment to Hedwig’s constant emotional abuse, until she stuns the audience with her breakout diva number right at the end. What a voice! What a woman!
The set designed by the creative mastermind Niall Griffin is a brilliant ‘collage’ of the essence of Hedwig. Bringing it all together in one caravan-vision, is genius. It is the third actor on stage, the spirit of the Kansas trailer park Sängerin. I would even go as far as to say that in this production the set design is the new Berlin Wall between Hewdig and Tommy… her lost other half.
Although Hedwig is being staged in the very intimate Gate69, the sound design is also of such a high standard that you feel like you are listening to this performance in a grand arena, yet you never feel overpowered by the vocals. Everything is a sheer joy to behold, and Elizma Badenhorst (director) and Wessel Odendaal (musical director) need to take a bow along with the cast for the standing ovations Hewig is receiving.
This rock musical sensation, paired with the opulence of Gate69 (with everything from plush furniture, to exquisite food and wine as per the high standards of your hostess Cathy Specific), is an over-the-top theatrical must. With most weeks having sold out even before they made it within your line of vision on the calendar, you have to jump to see Hewig in all her blond-wig glory by 27 November 2016. For R550 you are getting dinner and a show, so treat yourself! To book phone 071 589 2915 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.