Oh no, Nataniël

CityPress - - Trending - CHARL BLIG­NAUT charl.blig­naut@city­press.co.za

In be­tween tak­ing over the world, Nataniël (best­selling au­thor, colum­nist, cook, cre­ator of the Kaalkop kitchen and lifestyle prod­ucts, and star of the Check­ers ads) also stages mu­si­cal shows. They are some of the most exquisitel­y de­signed and de­liv­ered pieces of theatre you will see in South Africa. But not the latest one, I’m afraid.

Yes, Af­ter An­i­mals is beau­ti­fully de­signed, with origami-like cos­tumes and sets; yes, it is beau­ti­fully lit and the band is strong. But com­pared with his last show, the bril­liant Rain­bow at Mid­night, the de­signs felt like gim­micks, not el­e­ments to drive the nar­ra­tive.

Per­haps that’s be­cause the pro­duc­tion wasn’t quite ready for open­ing night; per­haps it’s be­cause the sto­ries show huge prom­ise – start­ing the night the last an­i­mal on Earth is killed – but are too slight to carry the apoc­a­lyp­tic con­cept. Most likely, it’s be­cause the all-male cast is fo­cused more on the camp, bal­letic, gym­nas­tic danc­ing than the singing.

You feel as though some of the vo­cal­ists are shout­ing at you and you start to squirm in your chair. I re­ally missed the pres­ence of singers who could match the lead, Nataniël – who is amaz­ing, but only as strong as the weak­est voices. I also missed the nu­ance of women’s voices. Af­ter An­i­mals is on ev­ery Wed­nes­day to Sun­day at the Theatre of Mar­cel­lus,

Em­per­ors Palace, at 8.30pm, un­til Septem­ber 27. Ticket prices start at R128

A BEAU­TI­FUL APOCA­LYPSE If only Nataniël’s singers were as strong as his cos­tumes

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