Aunty Merle’s ‘family’ get stage ready

Meet the supporting cast of Aunty Merle The Musical from back left, Sizwesandile Mnisi and Tankiso Mamabolo and in front Loukmaan Adams and Royston Stoffels.

Aunty Merle The Musical is back at the Baxter.

Written by comedian Marc Lottering and directed by Lara Foot, the musical sees Aunty Merle’s daughter Abigail announcing her engagement to Bantry Bay boyfriend, Alan.

However, trouble lurks in the air when ex-boyfriend Denver fights to get Abigail back.

Taking on the role of Denver is Loukmaan Adams.

The star recalls when Marc first started his Aunty Merle from Belgravia Road character at the Baxter Theatre 20 years ago.

When he heard that they were planning a full-scale musical, he wanted to be a part of it.

“I called him and asked him when are the leads auditioning,” said Loukmaan, a Walmer Estate resident.

He and Marc were nervous as they had not worked together before.

Loukmaan has had a busy year, acting in the play Justmen, then taking on the lead role in Satin to Sequins – More than a musical.

The part of Aunty Merle’s husband Dennis is played by another Walmer Estate resident, Royston Stoffels.

“It’s another fresh take on a new person, I just try to make him alive, he is the man of the home,” said Mr Stoffels, who also featured in local movies such as Material, Four Corners, Felix and Vaselinetjie.

His previous stage performance was in Tsotsi the Musical at the Artscape theatre earlier this year.

This musical is also allowing two up and coming performers to share the stage with these acting veterans .

Tankiso Mamabolo, 25 and Sizwesandile Mnisi, 27, both graduated from UCT’s drama school in 2015. Both of them were co- writers and actors on the multi-award-winning play called The Fall, which is based on the 2015 student protests.

In Aunty Merle, Ms Mamabolo, from Woodstock, plays the role of Lydia, who is Aunty Merle’s helper and friend. “It’s a lot of fun, Marc keeps the show very fresh, even though it is a set script. Every day you find new things to do and because I am only 25, playing someone much older than me, it’s fun putting myself in those shoes,” she said.

Ms Mamabolo also played the role of Thando in the John Kani directed play, Nothing but the Truth, which was staged at the Artscape in 2016.

For Mr Mnisi, from Observatory, this musical has a much lighter tone compared to the serious TV work he did as a soldier in 2016 in the BBC series, Our Girl and a small role as a human trafficker in the German movie, On the run.

In Aunty Merle, he plays Siya, who is a close friend of Aunty Merle’s son Carl, played by Anzio September.

Mr Mnisi enjoyed working with Marc. “He has so much experience in the industry, he is Marc Lottering, though you don’t feel it at all. I like how he works with us; we are all actors and we are all equals,” he said.

Performances of Aunty Merle The Musical are Monday to Friday at 7.30pm and Saturdays at 2pm and 7.30pm. On New Year’s Eve, Monday December 31, the show is at 8.30pm.Ticket prices range from R100 to R195.

Book though Webtickets, Pick * Pay stores or the Baxter Box Office on 021 685 7880, Monday to Saturday, from 8am to 8pm.

For discounted block bookings, charities, corporate bookings and fund-raisers call the Baxter sales department on 021 680 3962 or 021 680 3993.