Angels on Horseback

Posted: March 19, 2009 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews

Director:  Peter Hayes

Cast:  Fiona du Plooy, Candice D’Arcy, Jamie Jupiter and Gene Kierman.

Review:  Astrid Stark


First published in The Business Report:  Weekender


Cowgirls don’t get the blues.

Fiona du Plooy and Candice D’Arcy are two raunchy, thigh-slapping, boot-scootin’ gal pals that take the audience for a wild Country and Western ride with a South African flavour.  The ‘angels’, as they are known, perform classics such as, These boots were made for walking and Texas Annie but they put their own devilishly delicious spin on it with deranged lyrics and romp-stomping choreography.  

Busta Rhymes and Cee-Lo’s popular hip-hop number, Don’tcha, gets a hilarious country twist that is an instant hit with the audience.  However Angels on Horseback is not your standard Country tribute show. The angels have written many of the songs themselves and they are purely South African.  The number, Ode to Ryk, has lyrics that has the female audience members squirming in their seats with delight as Du Plooy and D’Arcy fantasise about Ryk Neethling being served up on a silver plate.  We were all screeching in disgust when the angels sang of how they will always love Johannes, ‘even though your breath stinks of beer, and you have peanuts between your teeth’, to the tune of John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High.

Fiona du Plooy, who looks like the result of a collision between Jennifer Saunders and Bette Midler, has the kind of breasts that surely inspires men to write ballads.  They have a personality of their own and they are really another member of the cast.  They spill wildly from her dress, they jiggle joyfully to the raunchy numbers, and heave sorrowfully as du Plooy laments life as a singleton. Her voluptuous figure is severely contrasted by that of D’Arcy’s tall boyish figure which she whips around the stage showing off the magnificent Hip Hop designed dresses.  The effect of the two contrasting body shapes is a bit like a vision of Laurel and Hardy, or Absolutely Fabulous’ Patsy and Edwina, and the girls use it to great comic effect.

The cast of Angels on Horseback

It’s not all eye-candy for boys only.  The handsome Jamie Jupiter and Gene Kierman accompany Plooy and D’Arcy on stage as music makers.  The two men, whose combined background is more musical than theatrical, play the guitar, French horn, harmonica and drums with great skill and dry humour.  Country music lends itself to irony and the cast of Angels on Horseback ooze just the right amount of comical tragedy to illustrate the pains of misplaced affection and the labour of undying love. 

Gene Kierman does an interesting version of Dolly Parton’s, I will always love you.  Kierman is handsome in that early Clint Eastwood-rough-and-tumble sort of way.  His serious, almost humourless, character is the very vision of a cowboy that has been wronged by his lady-friend. Apart from his sizzling good looks, Kierman is also a very deft musician and he has a soulful voice.

Du Plooy and D’Arcy’s voices harmonises beautifully for most of the performance, though at times they teeter a little off-key, and they are not always as strong as they should be.  You want to forgive them this little inconsistency as the show they put on is so beautifully choreographed.

Both women are veteran performers of Theatresports, Cape Town’s longest running comedy and improve show.  At last Sunday’s Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards, Theatresports walked away with the People’s Choice award and the Innovation in Theatre award.  Du Plooy choreographed Not the Midnight Mass which received the Best Performance in a Revue or Cabaret award. 

D’Arcy is rapidly establishing herself as a film actress and has starred in Faith Like Potatoes, Hansie, and Song for 3 Women.  D’Arcy and Du Plooy co-wrote and produced Angels on Horseback which is set to gain a cult following.

Some of the lyrics are a bit risqué and the musical is therefore not suited to a young audience.  However, if you enjoy a bit of dirty dancing, and if you are ok with releasing you inner hillbilly, you will enjoy this night out.

At R85 per ticket, the performance is good value for money and if you go a bit earlier you can get a bite to eat at On Broadway’s restaurant where the service is great and the wine always chilled.  

Angels on Horseback runs until 21 March.





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