Amazing Foxwood House

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 admin@foxwood.co.za 

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

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Amazing Foxwood House

  1. Absolutely loved this post! It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d enjoy doing on date night. Let me know if/when you go again and we’ll join you, though that Dagenham Dialogue one sounds really cool too. Comedy Fridays sound great too but we can’t do this coming one as kids leaving for Germany that very evening…
    BTW, my favorite line of your post was about Lisa Sharpe’s highlights!

    • I won’t get the chance to go until July now I don’t think, as I am going back to London for a little while (work!). I will definitely go when I get back though! We could have a little welcome back party there 🙂

  2. Yes, it’s lovely – I saw Rian Malan (infamous South African author and gonzo journalist turned rock star) and the lovely Lelani play there way back when, Rian sometimes play at “The Room” at 44 Stanley on Sundays. You have to read his books “My Traitors Heart” & maybe “Resident Alien” if you want to understand being a young white male in Apartheid South Africa in the 1970’s, leaving the country and then returning after democracy – there a lovely essay “Kind Words for a mean Town” in RA about Jozi – http://mrbaggins1.livejournal.com/49757.html – You’re most welcome t borrow the books from me – you are somewhere in Melville close to Heather and I’m just around the corner in Westdene, PM me if you’re interested to read ’em

    • Hi Derek, thanks for your message. Those books sound awesome – thanks for your kind offer to lend me them, but I am a complete Kindle convert so will download them! If I have any problems with that though, I will let you know

  3. I have been living in Joburg for 6 years now and your blog came as a complete surprise. What a delight. I work as a product specialist for the South African Tourism Call Centre and posted the link to your blog as well as the Foxwood website on the facebook pages of the d ifferent countries we interact with. I will be contacting Foxwood house and ask for a site inspection soon.

    • Thanks Dirk, and thanks for the shout out! I love new people reading about things to do in Jozi, when a lot of people think that there is nothing! You will love Foxwood House – please tell them that you found them through my blog. Brownie points 😉

    • Hi Dirk, at the risk of coming across as a jerk for hijacking Martina’s blog (sorry Martina) I want to chime in here as well. I often feel that us expats do a lot of promoting the various sights in Joburg without the tourism people knowing about it. I’ve written an entire blog post (which I keep adding to) called “What do do in Joburg” with a brief overview of everything we’ve done so far and links to the various stories I wrote about those outings, and I’ve also included some of the not-so-typical places, like the radio observatory at Hartebeesthoek. Go check it out here if you’re interested: http://www.joburgexpat.com/2011/04/what-to-do-in-joburg.html. Cheers! (sorry Martina:-)

      • Hi, I disagree about the tourism companies not knowing about us. If you utilise social media correctly then the right people see it – every Joburg or SA tourism company that I know of has seen my blog at least once. I suspect that Twitter is how Dirk found my blog in the first place

      • Yes, I’ve noticed that you are using Twitter very effectively. I’m still a bit slow on that front. Might have to make better use of hashtags and just post more stuff on there as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s