Come to the cabaret at The Baxter this Spring

Alison Hillstead in Damsel in Distress.

Book now for the Cabaret Season at The Baxter, from the 22 September to 9 October 2021.

Not one, but four cabarets are waiting to amuse, entertain and dazzle Cape Town audiences at the Golden Arrow Studio.


MAD ABOUT THE BOYS – The best of Cole Porter, Noel Coward and Ivor Novello.

Damsel in Distress – “I am not an adventurer; I am a librarian, and I am proud of it!” This is armchair travel at its best. (Standard Bank Ovation Award 2020)

A Star is Born – the rise and fall of Judy Garland. (Standard Bank Ovation Award 2019 & 2020)

The story of Eva Cassidy – beautiful and tragic – the stuff of legends.

The cabaret season kicks off on 22 September with MAD ABOUT THE BOYS – an ode to the lives of Ivor Novello, the matinee idol, Noel Coward, the quintessential, English gentleman, and the American playboy Cole Porter. Think of a certain suave, urbane style that reigned in theatre and the movies during the ’20s and ’30s. Think of cigarettes, smoking jackets and cocktails. Think of cynical epigrams, and sexy, witty, world-weary songs. Think of Cole Porter, Noel Coward and Ivor Novello – they virtually invented this style.

MAD ABOUT THE BOYS starring young and upcoming cabaret artist Daniel Anderson accompanied by Germaine Gamiet, features a series of little vignettes around each of the Boys and, of course the songs that made them immortal.

Daily Dispatch 16 Jul 2021, “Whether it’s the writing, Anderson’s charming performance, the music itself or a wonderful combination of all three is difficult to tell, it is sheer entertainment and, to be honest, might be just what we all need right now.”

MAD ABOUT THE BOYS is pure foot- tapping joy!

Do you suffer from lock down fatigue? Meet Griselda, an armchair traveller par excellence!

The Standard Bank Ovation Award 2021 winning cabaret Damsel In Distress tells the story of Griselda, a librarian, who lives in the library. She has not left the building in a long time. When faced with life’s little challenges she just buries herself in a book. Alison Hillstead dazzles as Griselda, she yearns for the real world, but her only escape is through books. In New York, New York, Alison transports us into the pages of the Great Gatsby; and in Berlin, the sexy city, she meets Sally Bowls who comes alive in Mein Herr. Griselda aptly named after the damsel in distress in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, peeps behind the curtain – the curtain of reality – where she finds the big bad wolf lurking in the shadows. Alison and musical director/pianist Nathan Johannisen have such synergy on stage it is a pleasure to experience.

With lockdown a reality it is easy to identify with Griselda and her fear of the world outside.

DAMSEL IN DISTRESS is funny and light-hearted with a twist in the tail. It’s sure to inspire introspection and raise social awareness in a society that does not value woman as it should.

The second half of Wela Kapela’s Cabaret Season belongs to Kerry Hiles. With the award-winning show A Star is Born, Kerry, accompanied by Nathan Johannisen shines the light on Judy Garland, the undisputed queen of cabaret. Her career began at the age of two and a half. At the age of 13 she signed her first movie contract. The Wizard of Oz earned her an Oscar at 17 and by 47 she was dead. How did Hollywood’s brightest star dim so quickly?

 “With a smile that lights up the room and a gorgeous singing voice, she (Kerry Hiles) had the audience in the palm of her hand throughout her impressive performance.” (Review by Keith Millar)

A STAR IS BORN follows the life of the iconic Judy Garland from her first stage appearance at the age of two and a half to her untimely death. This remarkable story is told mostly in song and the production features 14 songs which include Meet Me in St Louis, The Trolley Song, A Foggy Day In London Town, a heart-rending version of The Man that Got Away, and of course Somewhere Over The Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz.

Audiences are mesmerised by Kerry and pianist Nathan Johannisen’s performance. It is both an entertaining and sophisticated work.

Kerry’s second cabaret The Story of Eva Cassidy, is a brand-new work created for the Cabaret Season. To tell the beautiful but tragic tale Kerry, teams up with guitarist Alan Kozak.

Our leading lady, Eva Cassidy, is a petite blond, so shy and unsure of her talent that she would never realises the degree of her gift during her lifetime. During the day, Eva worked as a mural painter and landscaper. After hours, she played to half-empty clubs. Once degradingly described as “an incredibly talented karaoke singer”, Eva loved to perform great songs and was stubborn in her refusal to be confined to any single style of music. Her powerful, emotive soprano voice could sing anything – folk, blues, pop, jazz, R&B, gospel – and make it sound like the only music that mattered.

Less than 6 months after using her savings, a cash advance on a credit card, and a $1000 gift from an aunt to record her independent album, Eva Cassidy died of malignant melanoma on November 2nd, 1996, at the age of 33.

Then four years after her death everything changed. Overnight her album “Songbird” shot to number 1 on the charts. Within weeks it reached Platinum status. How did that happen?

Kerry Hiles is a master storyteller, yet it is when she sings Autumn Leaves and Fields of Gold that she is at her very best.

“I think you might have guessed it, but I love cabarets,” says Amanda Bothma writer and director of the cabarets. “Each of these cabarets was developed in consultation with each artist to create a product that showcases their specific talents. I have worked with all three of the performers for many, many years. Daniel was only 10 when he performed in Peter Pan and Alison was not much older when she started in the chorus. Kerry however – who performs in A Star is Born and The Story of Eva Cassidy – was a well-established artist when she returned to East London, and what a pleasure it is to work with her. “

Seating capacity is limited to 80 audience members as regulated by lockdown Level 2 restrictions with all COVID-19 protocols in place and to be observed. These include the availability of hand sanitisers, tracking and tracing, recorded temperature checks, mandatory wearing of masks and practising of physical distancing. Audience members are advised to arrive at least 40 minutes before the start of the performance to avoid delays.

Come to the cabaret at The Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 21 September to 9 October 2021, at 19:30 and Saturday matinees at 15:00. Ticket prices are R100 (for schools and block bookings), and R125 throughout.

Booking is through Webtickets at or at Pick n Pay stores. For discounted school or group block bookings, fundraisers or charities, contact Carmen Kearns at or Leon van Zyl at


MAD ABOY THE BOYS 22-25 September 2021& 9 October 2021

DAMSEL IN DISTRESS 24- 9 September 2021.

A STAR IS BORN 30 September 2021-2 October 2021


DURATION 60 min each

The Baxter on behalf of Wela Kapela Productions

Jade Adams
021 680 3983
The Baxter Theatre Centre

Kerry Hiles in A Star is Born.
Kerry Hiles in A Star is Born.