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Sharon Spiegel-Wagner promises ‘ugly laughs’ in her new play ‘Locked Upside Down … And Inside Out!’

Lorri Strauss, Elizabeth Lemmer and Sharon Spiegel-Wagner. Picture: Philip Kuhn

Lorri Strauss, Elizabeth Lemmer and Sharon Spiegel-Wagner. Picture: Philip Kuhn

Published Jun 23, 2022

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AWARD-winning actress, playwright and director Sharon Spiegel-Wagner is set to tickle the funny bone with her latest show “Locked Upside Down … And Inside Out!” currently on stage at Sandton’s Theatre on the Square.

The show is a sequel to the sold-out musical comedy revue “Locked Upside Down” that was presented at the indie theatre house earlier in the year.

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“Locked Upside Down … And Inside Out!” should be a welcome theatrical tonic for the challenging lockdown period that we have all endured,” says Theatre at the Square artistic director Daphne Kuhn.

“We are inviting our very loyal and supportive audience back to Theatre on the Square, to experience again, the joy of stimulating, relevant and entertaining live theatre and music,” she adds.

Directed by Alan Swerdlow, “Locked Upside Down … And Inside Out!” follows the story of two best friends who find the value of true friendship while being stuck at home during the pandemic.

Spiegel-Wagner, who doubles as the co-writer and lead alongside Lorri Strauss, says she’s excited to be back on stage to share great laughs and musical stories with audiences.

“Our story started in the original run of the show. The show has been structured like a classic revue and with Alan steering our ship, we can’t go wrong,” says Spiegel-Wagner.

“In the original run of the show, we introduced topical elements of these characters’ lockdown experiences. We had Catherine Hopkins on keys who sadly couldn’t join us for this new run, so Elizabeth Lemmer has taken her place. While keeping some gems from the original piece, we updated most of the material to ensure we stay relevant and current.

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“The sketches all reveal an overarching narrative of enduring some of the greatest challenges in human life – disease, isolation and loss.”

Lorri Strauss, Elizabeth Lemmer and Sharon Spiegel-Wagner. Picture: Philip Kuhn

Spiegel-Wagner further explains that the through song and laugh the show unpacks how the limitations of lockdown have helped “re-established and refined” human connection.

“We talk about being stuck at home with kids; online home-schooling which was traumatic for most. We speak of escaping to the grocery store and trying desperately to maintain some normal family life in the completely flipped reality of home isolation.

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“We talk about the funny ways in which women tried to cope during lockdown; the relentless attempts to maintain childhood routines; and the need to find meaning in it all.”

She promises the audiences an “ugly laugh and ugly cry” as she and her fellow cast members bring to life a proudly South African story about the human experience of lockdown.

“Our show provides catharsis, entertainment, and introspection and reminds audiences that the past mattered and there is light, hope and betterment for the future.

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“We decided when we wrote this (production) we wanted to offer audiences the time to reflect on what we’ve been through so that everyone can truly understand his own personal story and accept the changes that befell us all.

“And I think it’s important for anyone to go and see the theatre, period!

“Theatre serves a very important function in society and even more so after what humanity has been through. The act of gathering and engaging in a shared experience provides connection. And without connection, we are all unnaturally alone.

“Theatre provides a space where all human incongruence can converge and find commonality. Lockdown has caused the artists of our nation to have suffered economic devastation so coming to the theatre allows those who are born with that special skill to flourish in their trade.

“Locked Upside Down … And Inside Out!” officially opened on Wednesday, June 22, and will run until July 9.

Tickets are available at Computicket from R120.

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