Where East meets West
The thing about glitzy events, such as the opening night of West Side Story at The Joburg Theatre, is that guests try their hardest to fit in, some at any cost. Come to think of it, this is a clear case of life imitating art. West Side Story is a musical which explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs from different backgrounds. The Sharks, from Puerto Rico, are taunted by the Jets, a white US gang. Just like in the show, there were two distinct groups of people who attended the opening night. There were those from Johannesburg’s larney northern suburbs as well as those from the not-so-swanky East Rand, the dirty south Alberton and the wild, wild west Krugersdorp. Right from the parking lot, the cars are worlds apart. While some stepped out of their stylish German sedans, the rest were rocking starter packs of the likes of Corsa Lites, Toyota Yarises and the occasional Toyota Cressida. Incidentally, there was a Ford Cortina on stage, and your bet is as good as mine as to which part of Joburg it came from. With celebrities such as Des and Dawn Lindberg, and Richard and Jeanette Loring in attendance, it seemed as if the night was all about rivalry. Comedian Casper de Vries’ loud outfit completely clashed with the more elegant attire adorned by Bianca le Grange. As this is a tale from the US, the East Coast’s Notorious B.I.G and his West Coast rap nemesis, Tupac Shakur, would have been proud at how Michael de Pinna’s multicoloured blouse looked against Daniel Buys’ whiterthan-white shirt. Even the 1990s version of the IFP and ANC could not have dreamt up an “impi” such as the clean-shaven face of Zano Nzima, which was up against the perfectly manicured facial hair sported by Terence Bridgett. At the end of it all, it was heart-warming to see how, when the time came for the show to start, everyone walked into the Nelson Mandela Theatre and enjoyed the show. I would have thought the well-travelled northerners would have to explain a joke or two to the rest, but it was all one happy Kumbaya.
Timothy Moloi, Bianca le Grange, Samantha Peo, Brian Heathfield