Be daz­zled in a jewel of a space

‘Bi­jou’ brings cirque en­ter­tain­ment to Kalk Bay The­atre

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFESTYLE - ROBYN CO­HEN Bi­jou Bi­jou, co­[email protected]­tac­ Bi­jou, Bi­jou West Side Story.

THREE years ago, the Kalk Bay The­atre launched its fes­tive sea­son cirque­va­ri­ety show and each show has sold out. The fourth edi­tion, is on un­til Jan­uary 29, an­chored by Michele La Trobe.

The con­cept be­hind the fes­tive sea­son show goes back to va­ri­ety, Mu­si­cal Hall in Vic­to­rian Eng­land and Vaudeville, which spread from France to Amer­ica. Peo­ple would watch a com­pi­la­tion of acts – mu­sic, com­edy, dance and spe­cial­ity acts.

In Vic­to­rian Eng­land, spe­cial­ity acts fre­quently in­cluded an­i­mals, freak acts and odd­i­ties. In the tra­di­tion of mod­ern cir­cus – cirque as we tend to tag it – an­i­mals and hu­man cu­riosi­ties are no longer part of the equa­tion.

The first three Kalk Bay The­atre fes­tive sea­son shows in­voked cir­cus tent-quick change acts, sharp-edged with bright light­ing.

For there has been a de­lib­er­ate shift away from cir­cus tent. “Bi­jou” is French for trin­ket or some­thing pre­cious. A bi­jou the­atre is a the­atre which is pre­cious and charm­ing.

Kalk Bay The­atre op­er­a­tors Vanessa Harris and Ash Searle have framed

as if you have stum­bled into an in­ti­mate the­atre in Paris – smoky, smoul­der­ing and mys­te­ri­ous – with a cabaret vibe and em­cee acts and singing (Harris).

Off­set by a se­quinned the acts un­furl.

Harris said they wanted to layer the space with tex­ture without fill­ing it with props, so they bought a smoke ma­chine. Within this ma­trix of shad­ows and light, one watches al­most as if in a trance.

There are





spe­cial­ity acts and singing, dance-fo­cused.

As well as to La Trobe, the other artists are Vanessa Harris and Ash Searle; Brad Searle, Han­nah Hishin, Liam Tame­jen Gille­spie and Emily Isted.

The first act fea­tures La Trobe and Brad Searle. She is a man­nequin or per­haps his play­thing. Ini­tially, she is ma­nip­u­lated by him but through sub­tle ges­tures, she comes to life and the ob­ject be­comes hu­man as she dom­i­nates him. Im­pec­ca­bly chore­ographed by Harris, it is a witty piece of vis­ual the­atre.

While the com­pany is ex­cel­lent,

be­longs to La Trobe. This is her first time work­ing with Fol­lowspot, the pro­duc­tion arm of Kalk Bay The­atre, and it is won­der­ful to see her per­form in this space.

La Trobe has danced with the Cape Youth Dance Com­pany, Bovim Bal­let and in umpteen mu­si­cals, in­clud­ing

She’s had her share of chal­lenges – in­clud­ing a brain tu­mour, which was di­ag­nosed as ter­mi­nal. She is now in re­mis­sion. She daz­zles with a mix of bal­let and ath­letic dance. The Kalk Bay The­atre, 52 Main Road, Kalk Bay. Tick­ets R180.

Open Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and Satur­day. A la carte restau­rant up­stairs, which opens at 6.15pm. Book­ings www.kalk­baythe­atre. or call 021 788 7257.


the show


BRAD Searle and Michele La Trobe.


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