AHEAD OF an anticipated sizzling opening and subsequent run, famed razzmatazz-maker, Jared Mackenzie urged members of the Fourth Estate gathered for a media call at the Gold Reef City’s majestic Lyric Theatre to convey the good news for the general public to brace itself for an extra hot extravaganza named Ignite, about to set the venue’s stage afire!
Admitting to have a penchant for feathers, the blond coiffured show’s director, producer and choreographer whetted entertainment seekers by promising a spectacle of beautiful girls and long legs to the casino environment.
“I must say that there is a lot of feathers throughout the whole show, so it is quite a glamorous show, glossy show … I have a love for feathers, so I always put them in my shows,” qualified Mackenzie in explaining the last section of the production structured as the: Feathery Finale.
Thanking Jozi’s premier entertainment spot for backing up big budget shows, he then treated the news corps to a glimpse of what he described as the end of a section of a total of five sections from the production.
After a spirited and enticing performance by the cast, Mackenzie then took the media on a tour of what went on behind the scenes, with a backstage area utilized for effecting quick sets of changes (convenient for its proximity and thereby not necessitating them to go all the way to the dressing-rooms) being the first port of call and followed by the dressing areas, the Green Room (a sitting are for everyone) and wardrobe areas where a hive of activities unfolded.
In an interview in the Green Room, the director encapsulated the production thus: “The show is all about fire and flame, that’s why the show is called ignited – so it’s a fast-paced variety show.”
Inside the wardrobe area, the friendly mother and daughter team of Maude and Poppy Kemmy attended to performers’ accoutrements at sewing machines as they strove to have them read for the opening night.
The vivacious 84 year-old and multi-lingual Kemmey, a veteran of three decades dressing up showbiz performers, chuckled naughtily on whilst Gold Reef City Communications Manager, Danelle Coulson launched into a glowing tribute of her whilst introducing her to the media. “The original wardrobe costume mistresses in this country, okay, if not the world,” Coulson gushed, continuing, “Maud used to do all the costumes for Sun City extravaganzas – that’s how long she’s been in this industry and she is phenomenal!”
Explaining her role the elderly Kimberley-born Kemmey offered, “Whatever they bring and they set and they give us the designs, my daughter cuts – so, costume designers.”
Gregariously switching from English to Sotho whilst her son, Yusuf and granddaughter, Joeline toiled away applied stones, spikes, sequins and diamante on a variety of costumes in the background, the matriarch injected ambience into the working space with her loud and carefree laughter.
At the West End wing of the dressing area where the male lead singer’s digs are located, the incumbent, Nigel Morkel, described as a talented dancer, singer, songwriter and actor, fielded interview after rolling interview.
Originally from the Western Cape, Morkel said that after almost 17 years he considered himself a ‘Jozi’ boy who, having outsourced his services to other parts of the world such as Holland, Spain, Turkey, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, is “very grateful for the experience and for the years of experience that I’ve had and that I have now to be able to be a male lead frontline in shows like these!” “I call myself actually: #TheCapeJozian!” he declared.
A few doors away from Morkel’s room, was Oliver’s hideaway wherein, dressed in an ankle-length sparkling blue dress, she held court seated adjacent to a landscape dressing mirror whilst an official photographer snapped away.
Destined for stardom and with an enviable resume which include having worked as a session musician and casino entertainer on projects such as Project Fame (M-Net), Afrikaans Idols (KykNet) and, most recently, The Voice (M-Net) – according to the event’s press release – she cut a figure of a sure bet for the show’s female lead role, as she effortlessly conducted an all at once joint interview with a television and press crew.
Comprising of sections about Fire (with most of the show evoking 80’s and 90’s music), a middle section entailing quiet a big 80’s section filled with #1 hit wonders, a local section permeating with Brenda Fassie, MiCasa and Afrikaans music amongst other genres, the show then delves into a jazzy elaborate finale before concluding its storied structure with the feathery finale.
All in all, Mackenzie hinted of a proper Las Vegas casino-type of an extravaganza which has a lot for everyone – young and adult – whilst catering to different tastes in rock, Afrikaans, Bollywood, ballads, disco, Latin, etc.
Boasting a cast of 12 dancers (split into eight girls and four boys) and with once Coca Cola Popstars finalist, Morkel as the male lead singer and former Dreamgirls cast member, Oliver in the female lead singer role, Ignited – a collaboration with renowned show director, producer and choreographer, Jared Mackenzie – promises audiences nights to remember featuring spectacular costumes, phenomenal, fiery dance routines, and jaw-dropping performances from the duo leads!
Making its debut on the 24 May, its run will last until the 16 June 2019.
Image Jacob MAWELA (The cast of IGNITED posed for a photo call on the Lyric Theatre stage ahead of the production’s opening at Gold Reef City).