Cape Town has an exciting new entertainment venue in the heart of Sea Point, co-owned by new Cape Town citizen, singer, actor, producer, and impresario Richard Loring, and is a fantastic asset for the city and its entertainment industry, and is an entertaining way for tourists to learn about the history and culture of Cape Town. Richard’s Supper Stage opened officially this week, while the Bistro downstairs opened earlier this year.
Richard’s Supper Stage has a separate entrance, on Glengariff Road, with a real theatre entrance (a canopy in red and white stripes, a garden developed by Richard along the pavement, and fairy lights in the trees outside), and one receives a very friendly welcome from some of the cast and the front of house staff as one arrives. Immediately one is taken into the theme of the show, with District Six street names attached onto every step of the staircase. At the entrance upstairs is a bright and colourful chandelier, which reflects the multi-coloured character of the show, made from bottle tops and recycled ‘goodies’, the entertainment venue Tweeted. Another Twitterer speculated that the lamp comes from Magpie Homewares in Barrydale. The venue is vast, seating about 200 patrons, the tables and chairs seating ten each. To help those patrons sitting further back or near a pillar, flat screen TV screens will project what is happening on the stage. The stage is relatively small, and one could be disappointed if one does not have front row seats. However, the cast walks the room, so one has a good opportunity to see the stars up close, and to photograph them. Colourful life-like images of Bo Kaap adorn the walls.
To kick off the evening, Richard Loring sang a welcome song, and then thanked the VIPs attending, including Conrad Sidego, the Mayor of Stellenbosch, the Consul General of India, and the DA Councillor for Sea Point, Bev Schafer. He shared that the opening had been preceded by 12 months of preparation, both in terms of renovating the building, and in writing and casting for the show. He first came to Cape Town in 1969, and reminisced about how ‘fabulous‘ Sea Point was in the ‘Seventies and the ‘Eighties. The objectives which the co-owners Richard and Roland Seidel have set themselves are to offer tourists entertainment with a local touch, to create a sustainable business which employs staff in operating the restaurants and in performing in the shows, and to create a platform for developing local talent. Roland and Richard met eight years ago, and the seed was planted then already to do something together. Earlier this year Richard and Jeanette Loring moved down to the Cape. Roland thanked the City of Cape Town for its assistance in getting the building renovations done, the previous owners having ‘actively violated’ building regulations. Debbie Damant of Wesgro was also thanked for offering space on their stand at Indaba in May. Su Birch, GM of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), was saluted for her contribution to wine marketing.
‘Kaapse Stories from the Mother City’ tells the story of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ via the Jantjies family, being Grandpa Joe (Royston Stoffels), brother Bernie on the piano, Uncle Charlie on percussion and guitar, and singer granddaughter Genevieve, and how it was affected by the politics of the previous apartheid government, being moved out of District Six to another part of Cape Town. The script was written by well-known Basil Appollis, giving it a colourful Cape character, and the show is produced by Richard. The District Six’s Constitution, Caledon and Chapel Streets are recalled. Mpumi Sizani adds a beautiful touch with her orange Xhosa traditional outfit, and superb singing. The ‘white elephant Green Point (sic) Stadium’ is referred to a few times. Robben Island and Table Mountain appear in the storyline. A Ghoema song is sung. ‘Waka Waka‘ and ‘Shosholoza‘ take one back to the World Cup. Miriam Makeba’s famous ‘Pata Pata’ and ‘Mama Themba‘ songs get the audience going. The biggest surprise of the evening was when the character that was dressed as a car guard (Ebenezer Sawuhi), and the front of house host Germandt Geldenhuys both sang the most amazing opera music, including ‘Nessun Dorma‘, receiving a standing ovation.
Before, midway, and after the show the Cape-style dinner is served. The starter of samoosa, sweet peppers, smoked snoek paté, and a Greek salad was brought to the tables. The main course was an extremely generous buffet, and a very orderly system was used to request table by table to come up to be served the vegetable breyani, potato bake, tomato and onion relish, Basmati rice, Korma chicken and prawn curry, vegetables (carrots, butternut, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot), Cape yellowtail, and beef fillet. A plate of desserts was brought to each guest, and included a koeksister, a fruit kebab, and a slice of melktert and malva pudding.
After the ‘Kaapse Stories from the Mother City‘ show finishes, the venue turns into a jazz club, and jazz and cabaret artists will be invited to perform from 22h30 onwards, on nights on which ‘Kaapse Stories’ is performed.
Richard’s Bar has a collection of memorabilia to celebrate Richard’s 50 years in show business, the walls have wallpaper of images from his shows, and over the bar are clips from films and TV shows in which Richard has starred. Richard Loring is best known for his production of ‘African Footprint’, which toured world stages. In Johannesburg he ran a similar Sound Stage Supper Theatre in Midrand, and he was the Entertainment Consultant to Golf Reef City before moving to Cape Town.
Richard’s Supper Stage, Glengariff Road, Sea Point. Tel (021) 434-4497. www.richardscapetown.co.za. Twitter: @KaapseStories. R400 per person includes the show, a welcome drink, and 3 course dinner. Thursday – Saturday (July and August, when group bookings are received), Monday – Sunday from September.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portoflio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage