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Monday, September 21, 2009


Rob van Vuuren and Mary Martin relive their dance championship experience in excellent dance production. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Following their record-breaking win, Rob van Vuuren and Mary Martin are the reigning South African champions of the hugely popular TV Show Strictly Come Dancing.

The undefeated South African professional Latin-American show dance champion with an impressive track record, Mary Martin is highly respected in the show dance world and her jive is particularly spectacular. It was an inspired move on the part of director Helen Iskander to match the all-round theatrical talents of director, actor, playwright and producer Rob van Vuuren with Mary Martin’s splendid abilities. Their dance partnership sizzles with passion and power.

Strictly Rob and Mary appeared on the Witness Hilton Arts Festival and offers a refreshingly theatrical experience as they relive their experiences as they danced their way to the top. Mainly it’s a dance piece with some very funny and pithy comment thrown in. The interesting aspect is that audiences get to understand the competition process and the various challenges thrown at the competitors.

All kudos to the two performers for taking what could have been a major disaster in their stride – the mirror ball came crashing down from the lighting bar, barely missing Rob van Vuuren’s head. With commendable aplomb, Mary Martin picked up the cue, responding with an adlib comment as if she had been in theatre all her life.

I was very disturbed to see a number of Hilton pupils leave the auditorium in the middle of the performance. Not only leave, but come back later and return to their seats - in one case, this was right in front near the stage. Not only is this unacceptable theatre etiquette but it is also insulting and disrespectful to the performers and the pupils should be made aware of this. If I’m not mistaken, I made a similar comment after a performance at last year’s festival. Stronger front of house control may be the answer – Caroline Smart