Danger in the Dark at the Baxter is a reworking of the hit musical Poison, which David Kramer and the legendary late Taliep Petersen wrote in the 90s, and which was produced by Renaye Kramer. It will run at the Baxter Theatre for a limited season only, from 11 October to 2 November 2019.
Made possible by the City of Cape Town, the timing of this production could not be more perfect and necessary, considering the critical crisis plaguing communities all over the Western Cape. Baxter CEO and artistic director, Lara Foot, invited Kramer to re-stage the musical, given its relevant content currently lived out daily in communities, as well as its painfully beautiful narrative and soaring music.
Originally written in the early 1990s, Poison was very well received in South Africa, Malaysia and London. It had a return season, directed by Bobby Heaney, at the Baxter Theatre in 2004 as part of the Klipfontein Corridor Project.
With this reworked version of the powerful musical, Kramer has decided to tell the story from the point of view of Pamela, a social worker who is writing her thesis on drug abuse in the Cape Flats.
David has written this new book for Danger in the Dark but has retained many of the original songs. He has assembled a stellar creative team and cast of eight lead performers with a chorus of 14, who dance, sing and play a variety of roles, accompanied by a live band of five musicians.
Danger in the Dark at the Baxter – cast
The ensemble is led by Alexis Petersen (Langarm, Calling us Home) as Pamela, Rushney Ferguson (District Six – Kanala!, Langarm) as Juanita, Loukmaan Adams (District Six – The Musical, Aunty Merle, The Musical) as Michael, Elton Landrew (Kat and the Kings, Langarm) as Poison, Eldon van der Merwe (Arendsvlei, Fiela se Kind) as Chicco, Tashreeq de Villiers (Aunty Merle, The Musical, Satin to Sequins) as Lucky, Edith Plaatjies (King Kong, Orpheus in Africa) as Mrs Joseph, and Chad Baai (Spring Awakening, Fame-The Musical) as Shawn.
The chorus comprises Luke Buys, Loreto Cabrera, Lewellyn Afrika, Luke de Kock, Anzio September, Lubabalo Pupu, Rori York Bingham, Nadine Suliaman, Alex Rodkin, Chamonay Anthony, Mekaila Mathys, Crystal Finck, Gabriela Dirkse and Tanzley Jooste.
Directed by David Kramer with assistant director Grant van Ster, the acclaimed creative team is made up of Camillo Lombard (musical director), Patrick Curtis (set and lighting designer), David Classen (sound designer), Widaad Albertus (costume designer), Kirsti Cummings (videographer) and choreography by Shaun Oelf and Grant van Ster.
Grandall Vlotman (conductor and keyboards), Shaun Francke (guitar), Jason Ward (drums and percussion), Yvan Potts (synthesizers) and Kurt Randall (bassist) make up the band.
Set in the underbelly of the Cape Flats, the story unfolds in 1995, when Pamela meets up with Juanita, a friend from her school days. Soon she realises that Juanita is trapped in an abusive relationship with a drug lord and she is desperate to help her friend escape. Pamela is drawn into dark and dangerous places and situations, yet she pursues against all odds, for the safety and survival of her friend.
What: Danger in the Dark at the Baxter
Where and when: Baxter Theatre from 11 October to 2 November 2019
Photographs: Jesse Kramer