Clothes maketh Nataniël

2012-01-26 00:00

ACCLAIMED South African singer, songwriter and entertainer Nataniël­, will be appearing on the big screen for the first time in Combat­, an up-tempo show which investigates and celebrates the uniform.

The film opens on February 3 and will play for one week only at Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro cinemas.

“It was Mark Twain who said, ‘clothes make the man’,” says Nataniël­. “Combat is about how people who shouldn’t even be allowed out into the street acquire power simply because of a uniform.”

Through comedy, fantasy, satire, monologues in English and Afrikaans, and a collection of original songs, Nataniël takes a look at uniforms, old and new — the control, the cruelty, corruption, sexual attraction, beauty, temptation and fascination.

From ancient Romans to Third- World dictators, from the corporate world to the strip club, nothing seems to make a greater impact than the appearance of a uniform, and this is what he explores in-depth in Combat.

“Throughout the ages, we have feared the uniform, whether religious or political, worn by police or traffic officers, we are all intimidated by it,” says Nataniël. “But we also find the uniform incredibly sexy. In magazines and in strip joints, the favourite fantasy is the uniform — worn by the police officer, the fire fighter or the sailor. Jean Paul Gautier­ bases all his advertisements on sexy sailors — it still fascinates us.”

This all-male show, which was staged at Emperor’s Palace in the first quarter of 2011, highlights Nataniël­’s particular brand of storytelling­ which skilfully combines pathos and humour.

The cast includes Dihan Slabbert, Ignatius van Heerden, Martin van Heerden, Nicolaas Swart, Charl du Plessis (keyboards), Juan Oosthuizen (guitar), Werner Spies (bass) and Hugo Radyn (drums).

“There’s lots of rock and very modern pop,” he says of the show. “You can’t put soldiers in a row and then sing a ballad or play a waltz.”

And tired of everyone going on about Lady Gaga’s costumes, Nataniël­ goes through more than 20 wardrobe changes. He even finds a way of getting into and out of a costume made entirely of gold metal.

“I have been doing what Gaga is doing now for more than 20 years, which made me a freak back then,” he says. “I’ve toned down over the years.

“Now, with this show, I will show her. If she wants to wear a building, I can do so too. I literally wear constructions,” Nataniël says.

Cathedral, with all three shows examining people’s obsession with power.

It is only the second live show filmed in Nataniël’s career and the first South African production to receive a national cinematic distribution deal.

The show was captured on the latest digital filming technology by the Irene-based production company Holistic Circus, the same team that filmed his 2010 Cathedral production, which garnered a South African Music Award 2011 nomination for best global chart DVD.

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