Where East meets West

CityPress - - News - S’BU MKWANAZI news@city­press.co.za

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

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