Archive for July, 2010

On Broadway’s new venue is 3 Tons of Fun

On Broadway do get around but they seem to have found their place now. Their new venue, 44 Long Street, where the old Space Theatre was and more recently the New Space Theatre. Driving up Long Street for my first visit at Russel Shapiro’s new venue, I soon noticed the On Broadway sign, it’s hard to miss, and I  realized what an excellent addition to an already buzzing Long Street, On Broadway is.

The popular dinner/theatre venue had humble beginnings, taking an old brothel on Somerset Road (where the New Cape Quarter is now) and turning it into one of Cape Town’s most popular dinner/theatre venues.  I always enjoyed that spot, the open windows letting in the fresh air and on occasions the sounds of the street. It was homely and comfortable but probably not the best venue for performers or ideal for audiences.

They then moved to Shortmarket Street to a larger, trendier venue. Green Point seated 120, while Shortmarket seated 150. Comfortable with a larger capacity, they still maintained their intimate dinner/theater arrangement. I always enjoy a drink with my theatre and its comforting having a bar within winking distance of your table – not that I would ever wink, I’m a blinker not a winker.

Shapiro, never one to rest on his laurels, and not afraid of a challenge, was unhappy with the new terms offered to him by his landlord and at the same time the New Space Theatre became available. He jumped at the opportunity to relocate and On Broadway has a new home. Things are slightly different this time; they have taken the space downstairs and made it their restaurant, with much of the same fare as the old and they have two theatres seating about 200 on the first floor and 95 upstairs.

Our show was at the larger theatre. 3 Tons of fun are really that – Three larger than life big mamas with more attitude, energy, talent and curves than this skinny white man can handle. Michelle Thomas, Bulelwa Cosa And Nontokozo Sithembile Mfuphi paid homage to South African music moving effortlessly from Brenda Fassie and Judith Sephuma to Mandoza, Mango Groove and others. Their energy is infectious and their fan club of eclectic supporters taking up the two back rows, added more sound, fun and colour to a very enjoyable show.

The theatre style seating means more people in a smaller space and more atmosphere, although nipping off to the loo mid show and arriving late is a no no as it means you need to walk to your seat in front of the stage. Not cool, especially those that did arrive late.

The show was great – my only two minor complaints for the new venue; the sound was o.k but lacking slightly  in quality and I’m not sure the air con was working as it got very hot and stuffy in the theatre with no air flow or fans to cool the air.

Minor gripes aside, I like the old style theatre and the separation of the restaurant and theatre works, even if I miss sitting at a table with spare drink at the ready instead of it being under my seat – drinks are allowed into the theatre.  Never mind, this venue should thrive with its new tenant and bring some additional spark to Cape Town’s favourite party street.

And then there were four

When Asamoah Gyan missed that penalty I first swore loudly and then let out a long mournful vuvuzela moan into the shocked Sea Point air. Watching Gyan’s reaction I felt more for him than I did for the team. In context penalty kicks don’t get bigger than that one. The opportunity to be the first African side to reach the world cup semi-finals and on African soil clearly weighed on Gyan’s mind. With Ghana the only remaining African side still in the tournament, the entire continent and millions of neutrals around the world (pretty much everyone outside of Uruguay) held our collective breath – but no Cinderella ending this time. Gyan fluffed his lines on the biggest stage of them all – one kick was all it took to change his life for ever.

He is not the first to miss a penalty at a world cup; he’s actually in excellent company;  Zico, Platini, Baggio the list goes on. Gyan came into the game a hero having scored the winner against the USA in the previous round and this time was inches away from getting the freedom of the continent and becoming an all time African hero – the line between hero and zero is a thin one.

The next day once emotions had calmed down I started thinking about that moment. For me that will be the moment of the world cup. The Cinderella ending, while making us feel warm and fuzzy, is never quite as interesting as the drama when things don’t go according to the wanted script. Gyan did well to get up and convert the first penalty of the shootout and let’s hope this moment doesn’t ruin a promising career. Life is tough but it’s those moments that can make or break you. Good experiences are great and we all want them but its bad experiences that we learn more from and that in the end are often the more memorable. Asamoah Gyan might disagree.

So my predictions for the quarters were lousy and I barely managed 1/4. In fact I picked Spain to win by 3 so 1/4 is quite generous. Time for the semis.

And then there were four:

Holland v Uruguay

Brazil looked good for the first 30 minutes but the Dutch managed to rattle them and the Brazilians fell apart. They didn’t respond with the flair and magic of Brazilian teams past, instead they resorted to trying to kick the Dutch off the park, so much for the beautiful game. A pity really, this team has potential and they certainly have the players but it seems they are a bit shy of  BMT. Well done Holland you deserved your place in the final four, I’m officially going Orange, which is probably not a good thing for Dutch supporters.

Going Orange

Keen: Going orange at Glen Beach

Uruguay continue on,  defined more now by another infamous handball then for great soccer, but they deserve their spot in the final four and Uruguayans must be dreaming of a possible third title for La Celeste.

You broke our hearts in the first round and in the last round – enough! Holland will have to restore some African pride of sorts.
Holland by 2

Germany v Spain

Germany rolls on and in some style dispatching Argentina and probably their loony manager as well. A lesson in football for the South Americans and its hard to see if anyone, even the Spanish can live with them at the moment. Maradona tried the all out attacking approach but we know that doesn’t win tournaments. It’s fabulous to watch but a solid defense is essential. Whether they lost because they were just not good enough or because of a lack of strategic acumen by their manager is anyone’s guess, probably a bit of both.

The Spanish battled their way to the Semis with a hard fought but fairly entertaining 1-0 victory over the Paraguayans. Torres has flattered to deceive and it’s a tricky one for the coach. Play him again, he’s got to score soon, or start him on the bench and give one of their other talented strikers a start. But at this stage the Spanish must be saying – just give it to Villa.

If the Spanish fire this could be a high goal thriller so I’ll pick Spain to win by the odd goal in five.

So a Holland/Spain final it is.

World Cup 2010: Quarterfinals predictions

The pretenders have gone home, the party continues and we’re down to the final eight. Who can win it?

Netherlands V Brazil

A classic in the making with both teams unbeaten and looking very strong,  if unspectacular, so far. Sure, we get the odd moment of brilliance but both teams seem to be playing within themselves and hopefully this game will see an exciting and attacking clash between the yellow and orange.  Brazil in particular looks a fit and athletic side and while England were the epitome of dead legs the Brazilians always seem to get multiple yellow shirts behind the ball, whether in attack or defense, and seem to have plenty in reserve.

This game has the potential to be a classic;  Holland has a proven match winner in Arjen Robben and Brazil have a few with a rested Kaka a real threat.

Prediction: Brazil

Uruguay V Ghana

The heart says Ghana, the head says Uruguay. Ghana, with the entire continent behind them will be feeling the pressure. I don’t think they think they can really win this thing – beat Uruguay and they may think differently.

Uruguay are a good team with two excellent, and more importantly, in form strikers in Suarez and Forlan. They lack the skill and panache of other sides but are disciplined and a far cry from the Uruguay of old, once known as the dirtiest team in South America.

The teams look evenly balanced and I think the more attacking team will prosper. That might look like the South Americans at the moment but if the Ghanaians get an early goal, then anything can happen. This could be an important moment in soccer history, no African team has ever made the semi–finals before. It’s time.

Prediction: Ghana

Argentina v Germany
The two form teams of the tournament so far and should on current form be meeting in the final but one of these powerhouses will have to bow out before the final four.

I thought at the beginning of the tournament that Argentina can’t possibly win the tournament with that nutter, Diego Marradona in charge. Don’t get me wrong I love the guy – he’s a living legend and a complete loon but you can’t ignore him. He provides more entertainment than all the other coaches put together. He’s either carrying on like a six year old with a new bike when his team scores or saying it like it is at the press conferences, insulting whoever is necessary on the day.

Hey, Argentina could win it on his passion and enthusiasm alone. While they struggled to qualify for the finals they now look a happy and very entertaining team, unbeaten and probably the real form side at the moment – pity they have to play the Germans so early on.

The Germans are like a breath of fresh air compared to their teams of years gone by. They almost always perform well in major championships but in the past they have relied on a strong work ethic, discipline and a good physical presence. This time they can combine all that with attacking flair and lightning fast counter attacks, which cost England so dearly. Manager, Joachim Loew seems to have the right combo of youth and experience and the team is clearly enjoying their football.

Prediction: Argentina

Spain v Paraguay

I think this is a mismatch. Paraguay finished top of their group with victory over Slovakia and draws with the very poor Italy and the not so bad New Zealanders. They needed penalties to get past Japan and have acquitted themselves well but lack the class and skill of the Spanish. They have already made history by reaching the quarters for the first time, I don’t see them going further.

The Spanish are a class act and improving with every game. They can string dozens of passes together and deny the other team possession for long stretches of a game. Just ask the hapless Portuguese who chased shadows for most of their second round game with the Spanish. Get Torres firing and this team could go all the way, while David Villa has been one of the players of the tournament so far.

Prediction: Spain by three

That’s it – my C on a B. Bring on the soccer already, I’m having withdrawal symptoms.