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The man behind the one-woman “Storm in a B-Cup”

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Kate Normington may be a Storm in a B-Cup and married to a Jewish actuary, but she isn’t “part of the tribe”. However, director Russel Savadier is. The SA Jewish Report speaks to the actor and director about this one-woman show.

Your name and face are familiar to us all because of your performing career. How would you describe yourself?

Acting is my first love. It always will be. But I think of myself as a story-teller. Whether it’s acting, directing, or writing. What I enjoy most about the industry is that we have the ability to touch people’s lives, to make them forget about their reality for a short while, and take them on a journey of discovery.

Most people know you as an actor, not a director. What is it about directing that appeals to you?

I haven’t directed for quite a while now – and I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it. To create something from scratch, to have a vision and see it realised is such a thrill. That can work only if you have a strong creative team around you, and as raw material goes, having Kate and Rowan [Bakker] doesn’t get much better. To collaborate with the brilliant Denis Hutchinson, our lighting designer, and Owen [Bakker], our choreographer, and watch such a beautiful piece of theatre come to life is as thrilling as it gets.

How would you describe Kate Normington?

Storm in a B-Cup is such a great description. I can’t vouch for the B-cup part, but she’s an explosion of talent, isn’t she? She’s the ultimate “triple threat” (as they refer to it on Broadway). She sings, dances, and acts – all brilliantly.

What drew you to directing her in Storm in a B-Cup?

Kate and I have discussed working together on stage for the longest time. I’ve known her for the best part of my adult life and have always been knocked out by her talent. I have always encouraged her to tell her story and find the songs from her career that best illustrate that. When she asked me to help write the script and direct it, I practically bit her hand off.

It seems to be a trend of late for theatrical talents to do a one-person show about their lives. Why do you think this is?

Partly financial, I would think. It’s difficult to stage large shows right now. Theatre is still – bizarrely in my opinion – subject to the 50% capacity COVID-19 rules. Restaurants are open with no limits on numbers, yet theatres are restricted. It makes no sense. As a consequence, artists and managements are looking for smaller projects. The one-person show fits the bill.

Why has Kate done this now?

She’s at a great stage of her career with an impressive body of work behind her. She felt strongly that now was the perfect time to share that journey with an audience.

It has been a dark time for all theatre folk during the pandemic. What impact has it had on you, Kate, and the rest of the cast?

It truly has been a very dark and difficult time for most performers in this country. There’s been very little financial help from the government and so everyone has had to look at reinventing themselves and find new ways of surviving. Literally. It’s been very tough. Hopefully we’re through the worst of it and theatre will return in all its glory.

Describe the experience of directing Kate in this show.

Kate is an absolute perfectionist. She demands 100% from everyone – and most of all from herself. She’s one of the hardest working actresses I’ve ever worked with. Our work process was entirely collaborative, and because we’ve been good friends for all these years, we have a short cut to communicating. We trust each other’s artistic choices completely, so it was a very enriching experience.

What impact has being Jewish had on your life and career?

I’ve got to play a lot of Jewish lawyers and doctors (ha ha!). A big breakthrough in my career was playing the Jewish lawyer on The Big Time, a wonderful TV series about the Greek community. I played Harold Fisher on Fishy Feshuns, and am about to return to acting soon in a play titled When a Tree Falls, playing a rabbi. So, I’m often the go-to Jewish actor, which I’m always grateful for.

What can our audience expect from this show?

A wonderfully entertaining musical journey filled with warmth, light, and humour. It’s an escape from everything else that’s going on in the world. Audiences that have seen our show have responded positively – and in many cases emotionally. It’s a show that seems to touch everyone personally.

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1 Comment

  1. stanley sagov

    Apr 30, 2022 at 4:38 pm

    nice to see what you are doing R

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