Whistle Stop at the Baxter this summer

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The award-winning quirky love story, Whistle Stop, comes to the Baxter for a short season this festive season.

Whistle Stop at the Baxter this summer
Whistle Stop at the Baxter this summer

Under the meticulous direction of Frances Slabolepszy, the award-winning duo and real-life couple Ameera Patel and Jaques de Silva, bring the acclaimed comedic two-hander to the Baxter Golden Arrow stage, for a short season this summer, from 20 December to 7 January 2017.

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The beautiful and quirky love story forms part of the Baxter’s festive season line up and is ideal entertainment for the highly popular, usually sold out New Year’s Eve party on 31 December when all the shows start later.

Whistle Stop is a bold new work written by playwright, storyteller and actress Ameera Patel who penned the play after completing her Masters in Creative Writing with a distinction at Wits University. She has won a PANSA new writer’s award for Whistle Stop and the production earned a Silver Ovation award at the 2014 National Arts Festival where it played to capacity houses. Earlier this year it played to sold out houses and it was listed as one of the top 30 grossing shows at the 2016 National Arts Festival. Ameera was also featured as one of The Mail & Guardian’s 2016 Top 200 Young South Africans.

“I’ve always been interested by relationships and the energy that exists between two people which is visceral and yet invisible,” explains Patel. “It is a magnetism that draws us towards each other in one instant and then with single flip can repel just as strongly. It was this push and pull that I wanted to explore in Whistle Stop. What causes the attraction? And more interestingly, what causes the reverse? Communication or rather miscommunication, in all its various forms, showed itself as quite a complex and often humorous answer.”

Whistle Stop at the Baxter this summer
Whistle Stop at the Baxter this summer

Whistle Stop is the exploration of a single meeting between a man and a woman on a park bench. The idea of love features in this brilliant play about the excitement and fear of meeting someone new. It sensitively and charmingly explores modern urban relationships and is a tribute to the work of the legendary British playwright and actor Steven Berkoff.

Through a combination of cutting, rapid-fire dialogue and intense physical embodiment, the text explodes off the stage and takes the audience on a comedic rollercoaster ride through past, present, and future possible relationship dilemmas.

“Witty and goofy …” is how broadway.com put it, while Cue described the production best by saying, “Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, and in so doing, expose the ridiculous contrast between words thought and words uttered. Hilarious, fumbling internal monologues will bring joy to the most hardened heart. Fabulous script, outstanding performance!” The Critter declared Whistle Stop as a “fantastic, insightful piece of theatre.”

“Love features again in Whistle Stop with real life couple Jaques de Silva and Ameera Patel in a brilliant new play about the fear/excitement/uncertainty of meeting someone new. Written by Ameera Patel, this poignant, funny, highly physical play is sure to strike a chord with audiences,” is how Inner City Gazette summed it up.

Jaques and Ameera are no strangers to the stage. Ameera’s theatre highlights include performing as Vicky in the premier of Athol Fugard’s Victory, directed by Lara Foot, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet directed by Clare Stopford, Ophelia in Hamlet, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Ismene in Greg Homann’s Oedipus @ Koo-Nu and Sawda in Scorched directed by Jade Bowers. She has also been seen on television, in shows such as Hard Copy, Binnelanders, Sokhulu and Partners 2, Remix, Mzansi Love 3, and as Dr Chetty on Generations and will soon be seen on the new sitcom, Soap on a Rope. Earlier this year Ameera was nominated for a 2016 Naledi Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Jaques has worked on various productions which Chekhov’s Grief, directed by Lionel Newton, Lake directed by Daniel Buckland, Jenine Collocott-Warren’s 2016 Naledi award-winning play for best children’s production Making Mandela. He was also part of the team that received the Naledi Cutting Edge Award and the Standard Bank Gold Ovation Award for The Butcher Brothers, directed by Sylvaine Strike. Jaques has also performed in Sunnyboy Motau’s In My End Is My Beginning at the Market Theatre, Standard Bank Young Artist Award- winning Jade Bower’s Scorched and Gopala Davies’ Les Cenci. Jaques’ film and television credits include His Majesties Building, Silly Seasons, High Rollers and Kalushi, the Solomon Mahlangu story.

Whistle Stop runs for two weeks only from 20 December to 7 January at 8pm, with two 4pm matinees on 24 December and 7 January. On New Year’s Eve the performance will commence at 10.30pm and this is followed by the party, when audiences will converge on the Baxter’s foyers to sing and dance with some of their favourite stars. Ticket prices will be varied to include the show, a complimentary glass of bubbly or orange juice and the traditional balloon drop. The live band, under the musical directorship of Camillo Lombard, will get the party going and light meals will be on sale.

Booking for the Whistle Stop or the New Year’s Eve party is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. For discounted corporate or group block bookings, fundraisers or charities contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or email sharon.ward@uct.ac.za or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or email her at carmen.kearns@uct.ac.za during office hours.

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