The latest fabby-draggy production at Gate69 is NON-Specific. Weekend Special’s THE TRUMAN SHOW went to check it all out:
So, you think you know what to expect from the dolls at Gate69? This show is a tad different to the usual affair to be seen at the venue. NON-Specific is exactly what the title promises it to be; non specific. The show completely blows you away with its unexpected, cold, stark look at the backstage lives of being gay, drag artists who could be flamboyant manifestations of people everywhere. There is an eerie, almost uncomfortable giggle at the darkness of the stories that beset these boys; universal representations of not just artists, but ordinary people making their way through life. The actors remove the showbiz veneer and share anecdotes that range from happy to sad to angry, showing the combination of ugliness and beauty that confronts us daily. The emotional connection they have with the audience is palpable. This reality is balanced tactfully with humour, grace and madness and, accompanied by an array of delightful music from the 80’s.
The introductory song from Dreamgirls, an all time favourite, sends a warm sensation up your back. Beyoncé would have been proud.
The cabaret venue is an experience in itself
As always, the performance begins before you enter the theatre. Walking into the cabaret venue is an experience itself and has now become an expected delight, and never disappoints. There is the beautiful Cathy, dressed to the nines in an exquisite silver number that just leaves one weeping with joy and envy; does she never age, or put on weight? A hug, a kiss, a warm welcome, your heart melts and thereafter you are swept into the vibrant cocktail haven. Tonight you are welcomed with A Most Unusual Gin, Hendrick’s, served in A Most Unusual Gin cup with a slice of cucumber. A gin ‘tea’ cup – utterly quaint and unusual.
Further up, you are welcomed with Graham Beck bubbly; served in a shallow-bowled champagne coupe which, supposedly, is modelled after Marie Antoinette’s breast. Historical apocrypha this may be but walking into the cabaret venue with this delightful glass leaves one with a sense of heightened anticipation.
There was a buzz of excitement in the audience before the show started. Clearly many people were not here for the first time. The theatre itself is intimate without feeling claustrophobic. Cabaret style seating at tables allows for a very relaxed atmosphere while eating and chatting before the show, whilst the glitz and glamour of the stage is front and centre, providing a good view for everyone once the show gets underway.
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is everywhere, from the heavily ornate purple décor right down to the strategically placed ice buckets already filled with ice just in case you opt for a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the occasion of just being. The table numbers wrapped in bandages with syringes added to the bemusement that beset the evening. Yes, nothing is ‘normal’. Tables were laid out with a delicious mezze platter comprising of pates, crudités, dips, breadsticks fruit, cheese and many other delightful ventures made specifically to titillate the palate. The warm soup was tasty as always.
The songs of the evening reverberate through the mind (and the feet) long after the show ends.
RuPaul’s famous, We are all born naked and the rest is drag embodies the essence of NON-Specific! Cathy, Holly and Molly show us that, as Oprah says: “It is not about who wins, but about having fun along the way.”
Where and when: Gate69, cnr Hout and Breet Street, Cape Town until 27 July 2019
Book: 021 035 1627 – tickets cost R520-R599 per person and include the show ticket and a tasty mezze platter
Kiru and Neil Truman are passionate about wine and food (as long as Kiru does not have to cook it). Apart from loving what goes down in their own backyard in the Western Cape, they have also been spotted sampling local offerings in Italy, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Thailand (there are a few nifty wine farms there) and, most recently, New Zealand.