Back at the Baxter by popular demand: Alistair Izobell’s Remembering the Lux returns to the Baxter from August 25 to September 17 after its runaway success last year … when we thought:
Remembering the Luxurama – a multi-layered, multi-coloured, sweet and oh-so-syrupy show – makes you want to say things like unmissable! raucous! bonanza! and extravaganza!
It is all brand new and totally familiar at the same time. I can only imagine what it must have been like at the real Luxurama.
Most of the stars of this show appeared at the Luxurama, many of them starting their careers at the iconic mixed race music hall and cinema during the apartheid era.
My personal favourites are the sensational Niesha Abrahams, now 70, who is still singing like the feisty and fiery angel that she is, and the courageous and talented Terry Fortune, who surely cut a path for so many after him, “being man enough to wear a dress” back in the day.
Alistair Izobell has assembled a stellar ensemble also featuring Terry Hector, Loukmaan Adams, Leslie Kleinsmith, Giempie Vardien, Nur Abrahams and Kashiefa Blaauw, accompanied by a storming six-piece band.
Izobell is a showman par excellence and deserves to have his name up in lights and on all the credits. This is his show! His stamp is all over his first collaboration with Lara Foot, the ever present Baxter chief executive and artistic director, who surely must be credited with a big part of keeping the Baxter front and centre in the burgeoning arts scene in the Mother City.
But the show really belongs to the people who went to the Lux, so many of them dusting off their dancing shoes to take part in this trip down memory lane at the Baxter.
The singalong music is accompanied by a fun, anecdotal history lesson from the people who made history in a venue that also hosted so many top international artists, including Connie Francis, Dusty Springfield, Engelbert Humperdink, Tom Jones and Percy Sledge as well as local stars Taliep Petersen, Zayn Adams, Jonathan Butler, Ricardo, Ronnie Joyce and Lionel Petersen. Bands The Rockets, The Bats and Rabbit and Ballyhoo also graced the boards at the Lux, which was started in 1963 by the Quibell brothers and was apparently the first theatre complex to host mixed audiences during apartheid.
Remembering the Luxurama is a rollercoaster ride with only a few stuttering uphills (it is impossible to forget the context of apartheid), but mostly it is a wild downhill ride with the wind in your hair.