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Friday, September 3, 2010


(Pic by David Batzofin: Clare Mortimer and Michael Richard "Duet for One")

KickstArt is proud to present its critically acclaimed production of Duet for One, the deeply moving and yet disarmingly funny West End hit play by Tom Kempinski, at the Playhouse Loft from September 7 to12, before heading for the Witness Hilton Arts Festival from September 17 to 19.

The production had a highly successful season in Johannesburg earlier this year, with outstanding reviews across the board and numerous standing ovations. The production pairs two of the South Africa’s most accomplished actors, Durban’s Clare Mortimer and Johannesburg’s Michael Richard.

Duet for One is an absorbing and fascinating play about a virtuoso violinist stricken with multiple sclerosis and her relationship with her psychiatrist. The point of reference for the story is the life of famed cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and her relationship with her husband, conductor Daniel Barenboim.

Strangely enough, the play is not depressing or harrowing despite the potential for such in the subject matter. It is frequently funny, and often surprisingly provocative. Many reviewers have remarked at how uplifting they found the play, and how much they found themselves laughing. “It is ultimately a play that celebrates humanity, and the human spirit,” says director Steven Stead. “It doesn’t wallow in darkness or dysfunction. It’ll certainly leave you thinking and feeling, but you will laugh and smile a lot on the journey.”

Clare Mortimer and Michael Richard both received unanimous praise for their performances in Johannesburg. “Mortimer is outstanding” writes Peter Feldman in The Citizen, while Mary Jordan calls Richard’s performance “sublime and powerful”. Robyn Sassen in SA Jewish Report writes that that the production is “Well cast, beautifully designed and devastatingly developed”, while Arja Salafranca in the Independent on Sunday wrote: “This highly acclaimed play was first performed in 1980, revived on the London stage last year playing to packed audiences, and these two South African actors more than do it justice. Make a point of seeing this astonishing set of performances and work.”

Uber-talented Mortimer has been feasting on some of the most phenomenal roles: notably Maria Callas in Master Class and Vivian Bearing in Wit. She has shone in Kickstart’s Memory of Water; Proof; Dracula, Dangerous Liaisons; Road to Mecca and Popcorn, among others.

Michael Richard is one of South Africa's leading stage actors in a career spanning 34 years. He is also one of the country's top voice-over artists. Durban actors will remember him in Decadence and Pregnant Pause at the Witness Hilton Arts Festival last year as well as literally dozens of TV and film roles.

Duet for One is directed by multi-award winning director, Steven Stead and designed by Greg King with lighting design by Tina le Roux. KickstArt was invited to collaborate on Duet for One after Johannesburg theatre producer, Daphne Kuhn saw their production of Margaret Edson’s astonishing play Wit which was critically acclaimed in Grahamstown, Johannesburg and Durban last year.

Duet for One is presented in association with Daphne Kuhn and the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square, Sandton and runs in the Playhouse Loft from September 7 to 12 at 19h30 from Tuesday to Saturday (Sunday at 18h00) with an extra performance on Saturday at 14h30. Tickets R100 (R80 pensioners/students). Seating unreserved and booking is through Computicket on 083 915 8000 or

The production has one performance at the Witness Hilton Arts Festival on September 18. Booking is now open at Computicket and programmes are available at selected Spar stores, bookshops, theatre foyers and tourism info offices. For more information or a full programme and booking kit – visit or or phone 033 383 0126 /7