Cost of colourful Bible story dazzles on stage

Of all the good stories in the Bible, the one in Genesis written centuries ago about Joseph “with his long coat of many colours” was heaven-sent for a cast of singing school boys or top professionals like those performing at the Theatre on the Bay and expected to dazzle New Zealand audiences on their April tour.

Nevertheless, the Joseph story had to wait until March 1 1968 to come first to light in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 15-minute pop cantata written to be performed by the boys at London’s Colet Court, recently renamed St Paul’s Junior School.
On its second staging, it was favourably reviewed in The Times of London and subsequently revised and expanded with a two-hour West End production on the back of the Webber-Rice success of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Fraternal jealousy is a universal problem. Joseph, who lived in the land of Canaan with 10 half-brothers, one full brother and at least one half-sister, was Rachel’s first-born son and Jacob’s 11th and his favourite. This precocious lad had two dreams which seriously upset his brothers. In one their bundles of grain bowed down to him. In another the sun (father) and moon (mother) and 11 stars (brothers) did the same.

Any psychiatrist would have diagnosed a superiority complex and warned him not to brag to his siblings about his dreams. But he did and the outcome was a Bible story as colourful and individual; as his amazing dreamcoat which looked absolutely stunning in the ever-changing lighting by Gareth Hewitt Williams when Joseph (Earl Gregory and understudy Richard Gau) swirled around.

I enjoyed the current production even more than last year’s. The sound was better balanced, the energy levels even higher and I adored the gorgeous Nadine as the Narrator. Like Madonna she doesn’t bother with a surname.

As the characters are dominantly male, it makes sense to have a feminine narrator.

But who could forget Richard Loring in Pieter Toerien’s original 1970’s production, strutting around in high heels with mismatching socks? As happened to Alvon Collison as the Pharaoh, their performances rocketed them to stardom.

Without detracting from the current two Pharaohs – Jonathan Roxmouth and Anton Luitingh – Alvon’s wildly gyrating Elvis take-off when he burst out of the tomb was so unexpected that this element of surprise and his stunning performance, has never been eclipsed.

Facing shingles

Two good friends have gone down with shingles. I sympathise as I had it some years ago with the painful blistering rash on my forehead and around my right eye. I liberally smeared half my face with the prescribed soothing ointment not realising that it contained silver which turned black in light.

I had recently remarried and never forget the startled expression on the faces of an English couple who walked into the bedroom to meet me for the first time. Their friend’s new wife had a face straight out of a horror movie!

Shingles, or herpes zoster, occurs when the dormant chickenpox virus, varicella-zoster, is reactivated in your nerve tissues. If you get it on your face be warned. Invest in a good mask!

Victory

Congratulations to the Parkscape Team for their courage to take SANParks and MTO Forestry to the courts last year after the night time felling of pines in the Lower Tokai Forest followed by the public lock out.

It was a victory for the team, our justice system and the local residents who put their hands in their pockets to finance the urgent interdict and the on-going legal costs. At the public protest meeting last year when it was agreed that the legal route was the only way to go, a member of the public promptly offered R10 000, inspiring others to contribute.

The timing of Judge Patrick Gamble’s judgement on March 1 was, to me, significant. It was one week short of the first anniversary on March 7 of the brutal murder and rape in the park’s fynbos of 15-year-old schoolgirl Franziska Blochlinger. The anger and shock of her killing last year really stirred up public opinion to stop the tree felling before the prescribed process of public participation had taken place.

Parkscape’s victory honours Franziska’s memory. What happened to her was always in their collective mind. They took a big financial risk to try to ensure a safer post-pine area than border-to-border fynbos.

The sleepless nights worrying about the financial shortfall are now over for Parkscape chairman Nicky Schmidt and her team. They won their case with costs.

Waterproofing your home

Checking out the latest courses being offered in Bergvliet High School’s Continuing Education Programme during March, I thought how smart course facilitator Kathy Miles was to organise someone to teach “DIY Waterproofing your home”.
She wrote: “If you’ve learnt the hard way in previous winters then you’ll want to do something about all the potential leaks before the rain sets in.”

Wise words but some contrary folk – of whom I know quite a few – might want to wait until the rain does drip on the dining room floor for the sheer joy of again experiencing a proper dam-filling downpour.
Alas the course was scheduled for Wednesday March 8. If you missed it, you could always ask Kathy if she could reschedule it for later in the year. Email her at kmiles@bhs.org.za

Touchdown

After a bruising rugby match a 100kg forward complained to his doctor that whenever he touched his legs, arms, head, stomach and even his ears, he experienced a searing pain. Whatever was wrong with him? The GP replied. “You’ve broken your finger.”

fionachisholm@iafrica.com