Stars, gasps and gossip...

2011-03-12 14:10

For groupies of all kinds, this week’s 8th Annual Naledi Theatre Awards was the place to be.

The foyer of Gold Reef City’s bling theatre, The Lyric, teemed with a cross-section of the finest talent in the country.

Better still, they were all spruced up for the event, sporting flowing evening gowns and posh suits.

The lobby was chock-full and, ­fearing a lengthy ceremony like last year’s four hour-plus marathon, guests stocked up on finger food that dexterous waiters – dodging ­elbows and gesturing hands – brought around.

The bar did brisk trade and ­everyone made sure they had ­something wet to take into the ­auditorium.

The good news is that this year’s event was slicker than the Oscars – and shorter.

Cleverly, the organisers kept the presenters down to a minimum, ­getting each pair to award four ­categories each, plus a musical ­interlude in between.

The highlight by far – for me – was the gorgeous Loyiso Bala.

I know I’m slow to catch on, but I do ­believe I may have developed a crush just watching him and his brothers belt out You Raise Me Up with the Soweto Gospel Choir.

Funnyman Nik Rabinowitz was MC for the night and he was a cracker.

Kuli Roberts was of course singled out for a few racy jokes and even my husband, who was there under ­severe duress, said Nik was great and was still laughing at him three hours into the ceremony – numb bum and all.

High praise indeed.

As one might expect, the actors didn’t disappoint when it came to dressing up, and behind me was Brendan van Rhyn dressed as Cathy Specific from his show Mile High and Marc Lottering’s ­attempt to sneak in as the lights were going down was thwarted by his ­trademark Afro.

My favourite frocks of the night were poet Napo Masheane’s gorgeous ­off-the-shoulder silver knee-length one and ­diminutive Kgomotso Matsunyane’s denim one with detail.

Jamie Bartlett, who walked off with the best actor award for his role in Death of a ­Colonialist, bucked the tux trend with a black linen suit and sandals, while Sylvaine Strike wowed in her flowing fire engine-red dress.

Evita Bezuidenhout, who was given a ­lifetime achievement award, was ever the stylish dame in a black two-piece with sparkly bits.

David Kibuuka dropped the clanger of the night, using a ­gasp-out-loud word when wondering whether the patron of one of the awards did it for the women.

It was the talking point of the evening.

That and speculation about the age of former rugby player and sex scandal professional Joost van der Westhuizen’s date, Angela Beeby.

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