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Monday, September 25, 2017


One of the productions from this year’s Hilton Arts Festival that will leave a lasting impression on me was the two-hander musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, directed by Elizma Badenhorst and featuring Paul du Toit and Genna Galloway.

The programme notes state: “The music is steeped in the androgynous 1970’s glam rock style of David Bowie as well as the work of John Lennon and Iggy Pop. The plot revolves around a stage musical about a fictional rock band fronted by an East German transgender singer who survives a botched sex change operation performed to allow her to marry an American man and escape East Germany, only to get dumped a few months later. Hedwig subsequently develops a relationship with a younger man, Tommy, becoming his mentor and musical collaborator. Tommy steals her music and moves on without her. The musical follows Hedwig and her roadie as they shadow Tommy’s tour, while exploring Hedwig’s past and complex gender identity."

Presented by Gate69 with musical direction by Wessel Odendaal and original design by Niall Griffin, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the South African version of a Tony Award winning mega hit musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask.

The set is the interior of a caravan and placed in a tight performance area which adds to the tension and stifled emotions of Hedwig. Nearby is the Cape Town Stadium where Tommy is performing all her hit songs without acknowledging her creations, increasing her fury still further.

Du Toit looks extremely glamorous and gives a brilliant portrayal of Hedwig with all the character’s wicked sense of humour, inner frustration and anger. It was a high energy performance. Galloway supports him perfectly as Yitzhak, the long-suffering roadie – giving us a splendid surprise finale!

Du Toit and Galloway both won Fleur du Cap awards for their performances, and justifiably so. – Caroline Smart