White Christmas heads for PMB’s Hexagon Theatre

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White Christmas' writer-director Clinton Marius (left) with actor Jonathan Cohen
White Christmas’ writer-director Clinton Marius (left) with actor Jonathan Cohen

Copy Dog presents its one-man tragi-comedy, White Christmas, at the Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg for one performance only on Saturday 3 December at 19h30.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 21 November 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.

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)

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.

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Says Marius, 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: “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. White Christmas is a beautifully written piece. It is the type of production which needs a very special performance and very astute direction to bring it to life. On this occasion this has, with distinction, happened.”

Posting on Facebook, the Mercury’s Arts Editor Billy Suter hailed White Christmas as “a piece glistening with vivid vignettes that starts off light and breezy and slow burns to an ending that is unexpected and with clout. A deft script, solid direction and a fine performance. A good show. See it!”

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

 

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