Monday, August 25, 2014

Suanne Braun - I Have Life

A few days ago I had the privilege of chatting to Suanne Braun who is currently starring in I Have Life: Alison, 20 Years On.

I Have Life: Alison, 20 Years On  is the story of Alison Botha which is currently showing at the Auto and General Theatre on the Square in Sandton. Most South Africans will remember the time 20 years ago when Alison’s story hit the media. She survived a shockingly harrowing and brutal rape and attack in Port Elizabeth, went on to see the rapists get convicted and to become a motivational speaker. The story is one of triumph and is portrayed incredibly by the incredibly versatile and well known Suanne Braun. Suanne Braun made her professional debut in 1988 working as a TV presenter in her native South Africa.  She was signed by the William Morris Agency in America  and has appeared in a number of American television shows including the sci fi series Stargate SG-1 in which she played goddess Hathor.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Robin Williams and the We Deserve Better Challenge


I, along with most of us I think, have been profoundly affected by the death of Robin Williams. It still seems unreal that we are living in a world without Robin Williams. 


There are only a handful of celebrities whose deaths have affected me in this way, and I think that Robin's death has affected me so deeply because of the way he died. I loved Robin and his work but I wasn't a hard core fan in the way that I am a fan of Rick Astley and John Ritter. Which has led me to the conclusion that it's because Robin committed suicide and suffered depression. He deserved to feel better, and if we are feeling miserable, SO DO WE.

Friday, August 15, 2014

BRANDEN JAMES – Up Close and Personal

BRANDEN JAMES – Up Close and Personal
One Show only!
Sunday, 14 September 2014

Do not miss this exclusive and intimate performance by America's Got Talent Finalist 2013Branden James, as he performs just this ONE concert while on holiday in Johannesburg, on Sunday 14 September at Auto & General Theatre on the Square, Sandton, at 3pm.
In Branden James - Up Close and Personal, this highly acclaimed international classical/crossover tenor will take you on a heart-warming personal musical journey encompassing his love for all music styles, most especially classic, theatre, jazz interspersed with well known pop numbers.
Remembered as one of the popular Twelve Tenors when they performed to a great response and critical acclaim in Johannesburg in 2010, Branden has been wanting to return to the city and country he fell in love with whilst here, ever since.
The audience will be treated to instantly recognisable hits like You Raise Me Up, Nessun Dorma, I've got you under my skin, New York New York, Desperado, Rocket Man, Your Song, This is a Man's World, Ave Maria and The Prayer to name but a few.
Joining Branden on stage will be British diva vocalist from Liverpool, Home of The Beatles, Alison Ward for a few numbers, as well as a special guest appearance by local rock legend, Cito.  Superb accompaniment will be performed by Wayne Purchase on piano and Elena Zlatkova on violin, ensuring a night to remember for all those in attendance.

James states;  "On my first visit to South Africa in 2010 with The Twelve Tenors, I instantly fell in love with the country. There is a spirit in the culture and the people of South Africa that is unparalleled. I find the political history and triumph over struggle so incredibly fascinating.  I've dreamt of my return to the heart and soul of Africa for many years now and I cannot wait to share an afternoon of song with you. My audience can expect a concert filled full of stories and humor and various musical genres with some very special surprise musical guests. I'm grateful to be performing once again in your glorious nation. May it be the first of many return trips."
Branden James – Up Close and Personal is presented by The CoLab Network who have a strong commitment in regularly pairing inimitable entertainment concepts with live local venues thus providing guests with a one-of-a-kind music experience. 
Says Executive Producer, Collett Dawson; “I worked closely with Branden during his Twelve Tenors tour and was instantly impressed by his vocal dexterity along with his wonderful innate charm that instantly resonated with the South Africans watching him. I’m thrilled that The CoLab Network has now been able to facilitate his return for our audiences to enjoy a more in-depth experience of this incredible talent, alongside some other fabulous local musicians as well.”
Branden James - Up Close and Personal is on for ONE PERFORMANCE ONLY on Sunday 14 September at 3pm at Auto & General Theatre on the Square, Sandton.
Tickets are R150 and can be booked on 011 883 0606 / 082 553 5901 or online at
For more information on Branden James, visit his website at, follow him on YouTube at and twitter: @BrandenJMusic

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ladislaus Lob - rescued from Bergen-Belsen in 1944 by Rezso Kasztner

Has it ever happened to you that you're browsing through your local library and a gem jumps off the shelf at you - you end up wondering how it is that although you've been a member of the library for so long, you haven't found this one previously? That happened to me recently and the book was Ladislaus Lob's Dealing with Satan. And that is how the golden thread of humanity tweaks us through literature. 

Ladislaus Lob is Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Sussex in England.  He is also one of 1700 people  saved from the Holocaust at the age of eleven by Rezső Kasztner who was later accused of collaboration and assassinated before he could hear that his name had been cleared.
Ladislaus Lob in his 70s

Lob's book (variously known as Dealing with Satan / Rezső Kasztner's Daring Rescue Mission (Jonathan Cape) and Rezső Kasztner: The Daring Rescue of Hungarian Jews (Pimlico and Kindle) tells the poignant, personal, in parts touching and always astounding story of this rescue.

"Two months and a day after my eleventh birthday the gates of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp closed behind me. It was 9 July 1944. Five months later, with the Second World War still raging, I crossed the border into neutral Switzerland, stunned but alive and safe."

Orchestrating our interview across the continents has had its challenges and Prof Lob has been refreshingly friendly, professional and courteous with me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Suzzi Swanepoel - SA's Golden Girl!

There’s nothing I love more than being able to interview someone young, vibey and up and coming and I got just that when I got the chance to interview SA's up and coming golden girl Suzzi Swanepoel who has just come out of Season 1 of Sterlopers (Kyknet) in which she played one of the leads, Isabel Richter. 

She has also just released her single Ek Probeer which you can download free on SoundCloud! 

You got into Idols a few seasons back - was that your first big exposure, getting publicity or getting known out there?

Yes, because when you do theatre people don’t necessarily recognize you. It's mainly TV actors and celebrities who are in the media so ja,  Idols was definitely my first taste of life in the spot-light 

It was quite hectic. I was young, only 24, when I did Idols. I didn’t really know who I was and how I wanted to represent myself. Now that I’m 29, I have a much clearer idea of who I am and what I want to do with my life