Musical recalls South End past

“SOUTH End is my home, my family, my friends, the memories I have of my parents and their parents. All this will only be a distant memory.”
The Port Elizabeth Gilbert and Sullivan Society has a long and proud tradition of presenting the highest quality musical theatre productions to the Port Elizabeth community.
In 2011 and last year G&S staged the critically acclaimed Fiela’s Child: The Musical, an original work written by renowned stage and television performer, Ian von Memerty.
This year the society presents another truly South African production, telling a story that will resonate deeply with Port Elizabeth residents who remember the thriving, cosmopolitan community that was South End before the forced removals, and give younger audiences a glimpse into that troubled period in our history.
We are honoured to present the premiere of Sounds of South End written by local writer, actor and director, Herbie Clayton. This stirring drama with popular music from the ’60s tells the story of the Dietrich family, who have been served with a notice to vacate their home in South End and move to the Northern Areas. Audiences will share their journey as they cope with the pain of leaving the only home they have ever known, the loss of their community, and the injustice of apartheid laws regarding mixed marriage.
In the midst of the heartache they find joy in their love for each other, their friends and an unshakeable faith in God’s plan for their future. The 30-strong cast depict the diversity of races, ages and attitudes that made South End unique.
Harry Dietrich, the once strong family patriarch, played by Desmond Marks, swears he will never leave and as he falls into decline, his wife, Helen, becomes the family’s pillar.
Eviction is not the only challenge facing these parents. Daughter Patty (Joylene Groener) fights with her father over her love for her dark-skinned boyfriend James, played by Jody Butler. Shirley, her headstrong, rebellious sister, risks prison to be with her white boyfriend, Peter, much to their family and the community’s disapproval.
Shirley will be played alternately by Beverley-Ann Blignaut and Carmen Cairncross, with Peter played by Cuan Louw and his mother by Rose Cowpar. The cast also features Annelize Abdoll, Christina Fortuin, Valencia Stone, Gavin Harry, Henry Muller, Marlon Primo and Shanelle Stone.
Audiences will instantly recognise songs such as Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Diana and The Lion Sleeps Tonight, all brought to life under the skilful musical direction of Richard Campbell.
Sounds of South End opens at the Savoy Theatre, Adcockvale May 29 and runs until June 13. Tickets are R80 and available from all Computicket outlets or from any cast member for just R75. A special family matinee will be held on Saturday June 8 at 2pm when all tickets will be R60. Group bookings of 20 or more can book at just R75 through Computicket. Schools and community groups should call (041)811-8572 to inquire about special school discounts.

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