Theatre Interview: Dolly Louw – Spellbinding, Or Panto Persistence

September 17, 2021

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Dolly Louw has mastered the delivery and style of the pantomime and stars as GogoMama the Merry-Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at Joburg Theatre from November 5 to December 24 2021. The show also stars Desmond Dube and Ben Voss as the Ugly Sisters Fanny Flatulina and Flossie Flemerina, Bongi Mthombeni as Buttons, Kiruna-Lind Devar in the title role, Kyle Grant as Prince Charming, Graham Hopkins as Baron Horace Hard-Up and Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri as the prince’s sidekick Dandini. Choreography is by Nicol Sheraton; Dale-Ray Scheepers serves as both music arranger and musical director; Bronwen Lovegrove is costume co-ordinator; and sound design is by Akhona Bozo.


Live performance is both one of the main drawcards of being a performer and one of the most stressful parts of it. At one point in the process of being involved in a new project do you cross that line?

At times, a show might not be ready to be seen by audiences and that can bring some level of stress. But it always works out because as the saying goes: “The show must go on”.


Do you have techniques to improve either scenario – consistently enjoying the performance aspect (it is a job, after all) or mitigating the stress (of all the issues – from iffy pay to annoying audiences)?

Every night and show is different – it’s never the same – and so are the audiences. So it becomes easy to find ways to grow scenes and to use stress to find new energy without changing any of the original plotting.


How do you choose projects? What needs to turn you on before you audition for something?

It’s difficult, in South Africa, to turn auditions down. But I choose parts according to whether I fit the profile of the role or if there are roles that speak to me and that have the potential to groom and grow me as an actress..


What are the hooks in a script that you like to hang a performance or the generation of a character on? Depth, dialogue, nuance, reality versus fantasy – what speaks most profoundly to you?

All the above elements make up for a well rounded performances.


The lifestyle of a working actor is a difficult one to square with family life, or a day job, or half a dozen other aspects of a traditional routine. How do you make it work?

My home and performer lives are equally important to me, so it’s a balancing act I’ve managed to perfect over the years.


What other roles do you, or would you like to, play in the industry – now or in the future? Writing, production, direction? And what about each or any of those excites you?

I am, at the moment, exploring prospects of producing, so I’ll see where that will take me.


Which South African is most in need of a fairy godmother at the moment?

Jacob Zuma, so that he can get better and pay back the money! Actually, I could really use one too…


If you could cast just one spell, what would it be?

It would be that the world finds safety, freedom and that all this loss and dread is over soon.

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