Foxwood House is a magical place. It’s tucked away on a leafy street in Houghton, and if a South African friend hadn’t told me about it, it is likely that I wouldn’t have heard about it during my 2 years here. It’s Joburg’s best kept secret!
We were looking for a play to see with Rob’s mum. Not a show – a play. We wanted to see some drama, as opposed to an all singing, all dancing act like Rock of Ages (I’m just bitter that we didn’t get to see it before it ended. Ignore this part)
We found that Dagenham Dialogues was playing at Foxwood House and I promptly set up a date. Unfortunately, it was too late for Rob’s mum to see it, but Rob and I booked for the two of us
Dagenham Dialogues is a British show from the 60’s, where Peter Cook and Dudley Moore played 2 old dudes in flat caps, sharing their worldly, and often incorrect but hilarious, knowledge with each other. It was a very popular show and has been re-enacted on stage many a time back home, and according to Google, around Europe since then
I couldn’t believe how easy it was to find the place – just a few seconds from Killarney Mall, and on an unassuming residential street. You can not tell what lies behind the very regular looking gate
We parked in the car park and the attendant said that he would lead us to the theatre – thankfully as the property covers 2.5 acres of lush gardens! We followed him on a windy path of stepping stones (they probably weren’t stepping stones at all, but my Enid Blyton crazed mind has stepped in for this part of the memory), through a wooded area (clearly too small to be a wood, but ENID BLYTON people! If I had it my way he would have taken us to the Magic Faraway Tree itself!). To the right of us I saw this clearing, lit by fairy lights, and there were people dining al fresco under the oak trees. I have never been as jealous of anyone as I was right then. Not even when Lisa Sharpe’s mum let her get highlights at 11 and my lank brown hair had to remain just that
Our path then opened up into a space, also lit with fairylights, were there was a small outdoor bar and Clive, the manager of the theatre, there to greet people. There were also tables set outside here, lit by candles and fairylights, and it was just so darn romantic! I was excited. He explained that the show would start soon in the building to the left, but we were welcome to check out the guest house too. Guest house? You mean we can stay here? Why hadn’t Rob found this out previously and booked us in? Bad boyfriend
The guest house is stunning. It’s decor is Victorian and it has 10 guest suites. There are also conference rooms that you can hire, and I just loved the feel of them. Not sterile and sparse like many offices that I have visited, but with character and an old fashioned charm that made me imagine men with snifters of brandy and cigars hammering out business deals in days gone by. Obviously there is no smoking now, but hey, a girl can have some imagination! The venue is steeped in history. Some of the furniture has remained from the original owners in the 30’s, although everything has been carefully restored – there’s no shabby chic here!
Does it mean that one is getting older when they start to find antiques and such things charming? Aren’t I meant to be young and expect a TV to slide out of an invisible wall?! I have been asking myself this again and again lately. Even so, I really wanted to get a cup of tea and retire to the lounge. If there wasn’t a chaise longue, there was in my mind
Onto the show we went. I absolutely adored the theatre. It’s very small and intimate. The chairs are set out 4 on each side of the aisle, with 88 in total. I felt like we were in the show we were so close. The actors came on and the show flew by as it was so excellent. I laughed so loud at parts that I’m surprised that I didn’t get turfed out on my ear! The actors were fantastic and had great chemistry. Pete and Dud were played by Malcolm Terry and David Butler. I was told afterwards that both actors are actually very famous here in SA, in television and theatre. We got chatting with a couple afterwards and they knew Malcolm Terry so we were lucky enough to have a chat with him afterwards. He is so different in real life! Testament to what a great actor he is, as he played an old Cockney (Brits, think of Dot Cotton in drag), but he is actually very well spoken
The couple that we were speaking to were much older than us, and they wanted to know if we could relate to the show and if we found it funny. I think they asked because we did lower the average age in the theatre by about 20 years, and the show is set in the 60’s. Well, to cut a long story short, yes we understood it and we really enjoyed it. If you are British, you will understand it all – every joke and every insinuation. At my age, it is very reminiscent of our childhoods and grand parents, plus a lot of what we grew up watching on TV. We were part of the Carry On and Dad’s Army era. For any other nationality to understand the show? Well, you just have to have a sense of humour! They don’t speak in riddles – it’s just plain funny!
I found out afterwards that you can have dinner or lunch before/after your show and I am most definitely booking for another performance! Maybe not the Afrikaan’s one, but they have a comedy night on the first Friday of every month
I kind of want to see it in the day time, as I bet it is beautiful, but I am very taken with the magical enchanted-wood feel of the place by night. One thing is for sure, I’m definitely going back for date night! Dining under the stars lit by candles and fairy light? Does it get any more romantic?! Even our ice hearts might thaw a little
Dagenham Dialogues plays every Saturday and Sunday until 8th April. Tickets cost R140 per person, but remember that you can also book for dinner or lunch too (additional cost). To book call 011 486 0935 or 073 447 9148 or email Clive at email@example.com
There are other shows, so if this is not your cup of tea, or if you are a social butterfly and already booked until then, check out the other shows playing. You can sign up to their Facebook page for updates