Tragi-comedy at the Hex transfixes

2016-11-23 06:00
Jonathan Cohen as ‘JP’ in Clinton Marius’s White Christmas. PHOTO: val adamson

Jonathan Cohen as ‘JP’ in Clinton Marius’s White Christmas. PHOTO: val adamson

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COPY Dog presents its acclaimed one-man tragi-comedy White Christmas at the Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg for one performance only on 3 December at 7.30pm.

Written and directed by multiple-award winning theatre-maker Clinton Marius, the production stars the swiftly rising young Pietermaritzburg-born, Durban-based actor Jonathan Cohen.

In the wake of its run at Seabrooke’s Theatre in Durban in March this year, White Christmas recently scooped six nominations in this year’s Durban Theatre Awards, which takes place on November 21 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

The nominations received by Marius are for Best Director, Best New South African Script and Best Production, while Cohen is nominated in the categories of Best Lead Actor, Best Solo Performer and Best New Performer Male.

White Christmas hones in on the Van Niekerk family as they go “upmarket” and spend their annual festive season holiday at the Park Rynie caravan park on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. But this year’s holiday is different. Way different.

Known for his uncanny ability to write across South Africa’s cultural divides in his bench-mark radio series Lollipop Lane and his multi-award-winning stage shows The Fantastical Flea Circus, B!*ch Stole My Doek and Sweetie Darling, Marius said: “White Christmas is, ironically, a black comedy about a South African family’s 350-year history in this country, and where they stand today.

“The play is the most personal I have written to date, as it turns a satirical spotlight on my own family. Certain elements have been tweaked for dramatic effect, but the bittersweet account is by and large a factual one.”

Appraising the production’s Durban run in March this year, ArtSmart reviewer Keith Miller wrote: “This tragi-comedy one-hander showcases Marius’s skill and insight as a writer as well as his superb use of the English language. He has dug deep into his childhood and upbringing to create a meaningful piece of theatre which is thought-provoking, emotional and thoroughly entertaining.

“Jonathan Cohen’s performance keeps the audience transfixed from beginning to end.

“The emotion, vulnerability and intensity he shows towards the end of the play is quite breathtaking and had more than one audience member in tears.”

Tickets for White Christmas at the Hexagon Theatre are R100 (R80 students and pensioners). Book through Computicket at 0861 915 8000 or online at Secure parking is provided.

- Entertainment Reporter.

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