El Blanco is Translucent Story Telling

I didn’t feel like going out and I didn’t feel like seeing a play, but I knew that I would be disappointed to miss the highly-acclaimed performance by James Cairns again and I got off my couch and drove to Sandton.


El Blanco, Tales of the Mariachi is a strange show. It is, ultimately, a story about stories within a story. It’s bemusing, at best, but also thoroughly witty and entertaining. From the second Cairns walks on to stage, the audience is in fits of laughter. He doesn’t even need to say a word, but when he does Cairns transforms in to whoever he wants to be in a display of physical and vocal versatility that blew me away. It is unusual to say that I could have switched off any one of my audio-visual senses and still been able to follow the show with utter clarity. Such is the talent of James Ciarn.


Gwydion Beynon’s writing pulled me out of my mid-week “I-wish-I-was-in-bed-slump” quickly, and I found myself in full on belly laugh mode from start to finish. I can’t recommend this show if you want a story that has a beginning, middle and end. But if you feel like being entertained and brain tickled, then you should definitely watch El Blanco.

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The set is simple and the lighting follows suit, with a minimal background of three cardboard cutout cacti. The stage, however might as well have been completely empty. You will not see or think of anything other than El Blanco from the moment he struts on to stage in a pair of very tight tights with his belly hanging over the top of them.


El Blanco, Tales of the Mariachi is on at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square until 8th April – Tuesdays to Fridays at 8.15pm and two shows on Saturdays at 6pm and 8.15pm. Enquire about dinner show specials and group discounts. Call the theatre on 011 883-8606 or book online: www.computicket.com or tel. the call centre: 0861 915 8000.

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