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From Bloemfontein to Broadway

If you’re good to Betty, Betty… still won’t be good to you!

By Louw Mulder

Late in 2016, we ran a story on Menopause, a successful drag show presented by the Beefcakes franchise, which is still running every Friday night at their Illovo restaurant. Now, almost two years later, with the new Burger Bar in the chain which opened in Pretoria, the Dare-to-Drag and Love-to-Love trademark does not drag behind.

On Thursday nights, Menopause member, as well as presenter of Via TV’s reality series, Betty en die Dossers, Bernard Buys, stars in this one-man Comedragy, From Bloemfontein to Broadway. Unfortunately, the big-hair drag artist we got to know, does not feature in this show as herself, but that is mainly because I think there is no more space in the show’s line-up for her.

Bernard BuysWritten and directed by Bernard Buys, From Bloemfontein to Broadway tells the story of a little girl from Bloemfontein, with big dreams to one day be a star on Broadway.   Every night, our story teller takes us into her dreams, as she envisioned all the various roles she wants to play one day. Besides her always drunk aunt from Bloem, all other characters are those roles in her big dream – all played by Bernard Buys in this musical journey.

During a quick chat I had with Buys after the show, he told me that in some way, the story of From Bloemfontein to Broadway is based on the dreams he himself had in his childhood. To be able to perform in a show he compiled and produced himself, is a small part of that dream coming true. “It is all about entertaining people” he said.

As with most proper and classic drag shows, the aim is not on duplicating the fairer sex, but primarily on entertainment, but entertainment that guarantees a lot of laughter. It is also commonly known that these shows where drag artists are onstage, stroking their microphones like no other, are not for the faint-hearted, and even though, needless to say, I need to add that a hefty age restriction does apply.

Read our Review on Menopause hereIn From Bloemfontein to Broadway, Buys not only shows off his art for being a drag performer, but combines this production with his theatrical training and skills for the stage. I think that his transitions into the various characters are unique and funny, giving the not-so-used-to drag members in the audience, that extra little reality check when these transformations are witnessed live.

The repertoire of songs in this One-Drag Show, each fitting its own character like a pair of fake eyelashes, includes songs from Chicago, Mary Poppins, Sister Act and Funny Girl, as well as a few Afrikaans covers, in the mix. If you are lucky to be part of a good, open-minded crowd, you will not have to tolerate the sounds of some of the somewhat orthodox versions of these songs, as the laughter will moffle it all away.

From Bloemfontein to Broadway is staged within the famous Beefcakes setup, with hunky waiters serving some of the best burgers in the country. They are now in Cape Town, Illovo and Pretoria. As Stage and Screen is a web-magazine for all ages, I will refrain from commenting on all the fun, hilarious and daring activities after the show…

Not being a stranger to any of South Africa’s Beefcakes branches, the experience and fun every time, automatically create the excitement towards the next visit. My advice, be open-minded, go hungry, and leave with an Uber…

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