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More on LitNet
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Orpheus returns to the Underworld

Roshan Sewpersad

Orpheus in the Underworld, Cape Town City ballet production

Artscape Theatre

May 2003

May saw the return of the comic ballet Orpheus in the Underworld to the Artscape stage. Choreographed by Veronica Paeper, the gala performance featured performances by some of the original 1997 cast, many of whom have since retired from the ballet company. The sterling line-up featured crowd favourites Juanita Yazbek, Johan Jooste, Allison Foat, Andrew Warth, Eduard Greyling, Elizabeth Triegaardt and Keith Mackintosh, amongst others.

Fun and playful was the treatment given to the roles and staging, with Paeper°’s trademark quaint (and frankly, outdated) choreography superbly executed by the experienced dancers. Paeper has set this classic Greek legend in a louche 1920s nightclub. Unfortunately this choice of setting is never made clear, but it does provide for some intricate sets and props.

Younger members of the cast also deserve praise for portraying their characters ably. Cape Town City Ballet turned on their comedic charm, interspersed with leaps of brilliance by character dancers.

Offenbach’s score, arranged by Michael Tuffin, was performed by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and directed by David Tidboald. This deserves praise in itself, given the increasing reliance on recorded music for theatrical productions.

Original sets and costumes were used, adding to the audience’s nostalgia that rewarded the production with a standing ovation and numerous curtain calls.

boontoe / to the top


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