BIJOU. Created and directed by Followspot Productions. With Vanessa Harris, Ash Searle, Brad Searle, Hannah Hishin, Liam Gillespie, Emily Isted and Michele la Trobe. Kalk Bay Theatre.
KAREN RUTTER reviews
Turns out, it was an excellent idea to bring my friend Erika to Bijou. Firstly, she’d never been to the Kalk Bay Theatre before; and secondly, she didn’t know the work of Followspot Productions. So she had two fabby surprises in one night, and I got to enjoy my evening through a new set of eyes.
The Kalk Bay Theatre is, of course, an absolute gem. Situated in a 142-year-old church in False Bay’s trendy village, just a frisbee throw away from the sea, it’s cosy and quaint and comfortable (check out the special couples’ seats!). Owners Vanessa Harris and Ash Searle make sure there’s a varied programme of entertainment throughout the year, alternating musical shows like Mike McCully’s 80s tribute with more serious theatre (James Cairns is a regular) and their own creations.
Which brings us to the other gem of the evening – Followspot Productions, and the infectious sense of fun they’re able to create for an audience. Husband-and-wife duo Vanessa and Ash are smooth operators when it comes to providing slick, skillful music and dance pieces, and they’ve got the awards to show for it. As choreographers, directors and performers, they’re a formidable duo. When they team up with both their regular team as well as fresh faces, they’re unstoppable.
If tight, sleek, performance pieces with a sneaky sense of humour and a huge dash of finesse is what you’re after, look no further.
And Bijou, the theatre’s latest festive production, lives up to the hype. A 70-minute whirlwind of short song and dance acts, it’s got cheeky edges and bold moves with a seven-member cast giving it their all. I’m not going to run through what each segment entails – that would be such a spoiler – but I can say I loved the aerial silks duet, the silly “Find the Lady under the Hat” routine, and the lippy French MC routine.
Best of all, it was really wonderful to watch the show with an initiate, and to enjoy their response afterwards. My friend absolutely loved both the show and the venue. She’ll be back, she says. As will the many fans of Followspot Productions.
Where and when: Kalk Bay Theatre until 5 January 2019