AUNTY MERLE THE MUSICAL. Created by Marc Lottering. Directed by Lara Foot. With Marc Lottering, Tracey-Lee Oliver, Loukmaan Adams, Gina Shmukler, Paul du Toit, Royston Stoffels, Tankiso Mamabolo and others. Musical direction: Alistair Izobell. Choreography: Grant van Ster. Baxter Theatre.
MEGAN FURNISS reviews
I saw Aunty Merle the Musical last year this time and I loved it. My love was unconditional; I surrendered to the crazy, warm and hilarious mayhem of Marc Lottering and his troupe of characters in a musical.
Last night, I sat in the audience with delicious anticipation. This is rare for me. I hardly ever see a show more than once and I am an infamous non-lover of musicals. But. Aunty Merle. Hier kom ‘n ding.
Aunty Merle The Musical is a vehicle for Marc Lottering’s outrageous, loved and adored Belgravia Road, Athlone, character. Here, with a full cast of totally relatable characters, cute and catchy songs and utterly jolly choreography she is surrounded by everything that makes a musical marvellous entertainment. And there is not a disappointing moment.
Seeing it again made me realise how lovely it is for a team to return to a project and give it new gees. In this incarnation Paul du Toit and Gina Shmukler join Adrian Galley as the White family (their surname), and Tracey-Lee Oliver takes on the role of Abigail, Merle’s daughter. Anzio September plays Merle’s son Carl. The newcomers are fabulous additions to an already well-oiled cast. My old faves (aside from mal Aunty Merle of course) are still Carmen Maarman and Loukmaan Adams and Tankiso Mamabolo. But. I loved everybody.
Feel-good, fully Cape Town
I was not the only one in love. The entire audience was in stitches. The woman to my left couldn’t stop with the “Ooh Jinne’s”. The man to my right’s whole body was jerking around every time he laughed, which was always, but more especially when Merle’s legs kicked in.
This is a feel-good, fully Cape Town, totally lekker way to be in a theatre over this festive season, for everybody.
Aunty Merle has only gotten better since last year. This version is tighter, flows even better and the storyline is streamlined somehow. This maximises the laughs, enjoyment and delight. It is finely balanced by some powerful and moving performances. And of course, it is totally topical, relevant, and for those in the theatrical know, the in jokes about musicals land every time.
My only little niggle was that the music (live band!) and the vocals were too soft. I wanted to be totally immersed in the sound, but it was a bit too tame for me. Gooi volume ek sê.
If you have seen and loved Aunty Merle The Musical there is no shame in going again. If you haven’t, book now, it is going to be a sold-out season.
What: Aunty Merle the Musical
Where and when: Baxter until 5 January 2019