WAIT A MINIM!
Commentary by Judy Harris
with factual help from Paul and Andrew Tracey and Nigel Pegram
visit my homepage at http://www.bestweb.net/~foosie/index.htm
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Devised and Directed by Leon Gluckman
Musical Arrangements and Direction by Andrew Tracey
Costumes by Heather MacDonald-Rouse
Choreography by Frank Staff and Kendrew Lascelles
Lighting and Design Supervised by Klaus Holm
|Broadway playbill||Broadway LP||British cast|
|April performing rose dance||Michel, Nigel, Andrew & Barbara singing I GAVE MY LOVE A CHERRY||April doing GRETL'S COW mime|
|Nigel, Andrew and Paul doing Eine kleine bombardonmusik||Nigel & Andrew performing LALIRETTE||April's TOUR DE FRANCE dance|
|Nigel performs A PIECE OF GROUND||Nigel as Chairman, Paul as Professor Piercing||Nigel, Helene, Andrew and Paul perform COOL|
|Nigel, Andrew and Paul perform WEE COOPER O'FIFE||WEE COOPER O'FIFE from different angle||April, Nigel and Andrew perform CHUZI MAMA|
|April and Kendrew perform ON GUARD||Kendrew and April perform OPENING KNIGHT||Inside the Broadway programme|
|kalimba||London Programme Cast Photos||South African LP|
|THIS IS THE LAND|
|Ndinosara Nani (Karanga Folk Song, Southern Rhodesia)||Andrew, Nigel, Michel, Dana, Paul|
|Hoe Ry Die Boere (Afrikaans Folk Song)||Nigel, Paul, Andrew|
|This is Worth Fighting For||Sarah|
|Subuhi Sana (Swahili)||Andrew|
|Jikel' Emaweni (Xhosa Fighting Song, Transkei)||Dana|
|Ajade Papa (Tamil Lullaby)||Michel|
|Dingere Dingale (Tamil Song)||The Company|
|OVER THE HILLS|
|I Know Where I'm Going (Irish Folk Song)||Paul, Sarah, Andrew|
|Over the Hills||April, Andrew|
|I Gave My Love A Cherry (English Folk Song)||Paul, Dana, Michel, Nigel, Andrew|
|BLACK-WHITE CALYPSO (Song by Jeremy Taylor)||Nigel|
|Deutches Weinlied||The Company|
|Eine kleine bombardonmusik||Nigel, Andrew, Paul, Kendrew|
|JOHNNY SOLDIER (Irish-American)||Dana|
|OUT OF FOCUS||The Company|
|Snap Happy||April, Kendrew|
|Hoshoryu (Japanese Folk Song)||Michel, Sarah|
|The Gentle Art||Kendrew, Michel, Paul|
|DIRTY OLD TOWN (Song by Ewan MacColl)||Andrew, Paul, Dana, Nigel|
|LAST SUMMER||Andrew, Paul, Nigel, Kendrew|
|VIVE LA DIFFERENCE|
|Lalirette||Paul, Andrew, Michel, Nigel|
|Le roi a fait battre tambour||Michel, Nigel, Paul, Andrew|
|Tour de France||Kendrew, April, Andrew, Paul, Michel|
|A PIECE OF GROUND (Song by Jeremy Taylor)||Nigel|
|AYAMA||Andrew, Paul, Michel|
|NORTH OF THE 'POPO|
|Mgeniso waMgodo waShambini (Chopi Timbila)||Andrew, Paul, Nigel|
|Kupura Kupika (Pounding Song, Nyasaland)||Sarah, Dana, April|
|The Izicatulo Gumboot Dance||The Company|
|TUNES OF GLORY|
|The Wee Cooper o'Fife (Doric Diddling)||Paul, Andrew, Nigel|
|Red, Red Rose (Burns)||Paul|
|HAMMER SONG (Song by Seeger-Hays)||Andrew, Nigel, Michel, Paul|
|LONDON TALKING BLUES (Song by Jeremy Taylor)||Nigel|
|THE LOVE LIFE OF A GONDOLIER||Kendrew, Michel, April|
|FOYO (Haitian Patois Lullaby)||Paul, Andrew, Nigel|
|COOL (Andrew and Paul Tracey)||Dana, Paul, Nigel, Andrew|
|ON GUARD||Kendrew, April|
|SIR OSWALD SODDE|
|Opening Knight||The Company|
|Sir Oswald Sodde (Words and Music by Jeffrey Smith)||Andrew, Sarah, Nigel, Paul, Michel|
|TABLE BAY (Cape Malay - arranged and adapted by Stanley Glasser & Adolf Wood)||Dana|
|THIS IS SOUTH AFRICA|
|Chuzi Mama Gwabi Gwabi (Marabi Dance Song)||Dana, Michel|
|Cingoma Cakabaruka (Timbuka/Henga, Nyasaland)||The Company|
|Skalo-Zwi (Music by Stanley Glasser, words by Gwigwi Mrwebe, Pedi Pipe Dance specially arranged by Andrew Tracey)||Dana|
|Samandoza-we! (Ndau, Southern Rhodesia)||The Company|
|Amasalela (Baca Fighting Song, Transkei)||The Company|
NOTE: Some kind person has put the 13 songs of the original cast album up on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/WaitAMinim
|January 17, 2012 is the 50th anniversary of WAIT A MINIM! which opened at the Intimate Theatre, YMCA, Johannesburg in 1962 with Kendrew Lascelles, Michel Martel, Jeremy Taylor, Zelide Jeppe, Christina Martelis, Jeanette James, Andrew and Paul Tracey. Paul remembers the headline of their first review was "LIVELY YOUNG PEOPLE IN LOVELY YOUNG SHOW"!|
I first saw WAIT A MINIM! on Broadway in December 1966. It had already had a long (2 years) and successful run in South Africa (and Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe), where it originated in Johannesburg on January 17, 1962 at the Intimate Theatre. Thereafter, it moved to London (another 2 years at the Fortune Theatre, where it opened April 9, 1964), and had released three original cast albums (two in Africa, the second called MINIM BILI). It opened in New York at the John Golden Theatre on March 7, 1966 and ran through April 15, 1967.
Four performers stuck with the show through all 3 continents (and continents to come; after the show closed on Broadway, it first toured the U.S. and Canada for a full year and then went on to New Zealand and Australia): Andrew and Paul Tracey, Kendrew Lascelles and Michel Martel.
Andrew and Paul came by their musicality, at least partially, through their father, the late Hugh Tracey, who was Founder of the International Library of African Music (1954), which continues to this day (as well as the founder of the African Music Society, which wound down around 1980). During his lifetime, Dr. Tracey was considered "the world's foremost authority on African music." In 2012 a BBC documentary about Dr. Tracey surfaced, which has been uploaded in two parts by Paul's son Devon. The first part is 24 minutes, and the second part is 16 minutes. Paul appears in this 2 years before the start of WAIT A MINIM!
The show had originally been commissioned by Leon Gluckman, a producer, out of the folk song repertoire already accumulated by Andrew and Paul. They had performed professionally as The Tracey Brothers and had their own weekly 15 minute radio program for children on SABC, called THE NUTCRACKERS. This consisted, usually, of 3 songs dropped into a zany story created by Paul. Occasionally Annabel Linder (who eventually appeared in MINIM BILI) also took part. Andrew and Paul could play an impressive number of instruments, including the guitar, the lute, the mbira (the native African "thumb piano"), the kalimba (a Westernized version of the mbira which Dr. Tracey manufactured and sold), drums (and clarinet also for Andrew). Within weeks of MINIM having been commissioned by Gluckman, Paul and Andrew, in addition, mastered the tuba, the recorder, the trombone and (for MINIM BILI) the Scottish bagpipes . They also constructed their Home Made Bull Fiddle for MINIM.
In the original South African cast was Jeremy Taylor, whom Andrew had met at university in Oxford. He wrote some of the original songs for the show; his role was taken over during the London run by Nigel Pegram (who himself plays 12 musical instruments). Shortly before Nigel joined the cast, Paul took over the introductions during Ndinosara Nani, which Jeremy used to handle. Also in the original South African cast were Michel Martel (who, in his own words, had "migrated" from Mauritius), Jeanette James and Zelide Jeppe (who stepped down during the London run and whose roles were taken by ex-Royal Ballet soloist, April Olrich).
Leon Gluckman and Kendrew Lascelles (who moved from Manchester to South Africa when he was 4) were responsible for a lot of the political humor in the original South African show; in addition, Kendrew was the co-choreographer,(along with Frank Staff). As time wore on, the other cast members contributed lines and bits of business.
WAIT A MINIM! consisted of over 50 musical numbers and skits; many of them requiring quick changes of costume, which must have made the backstage goings on chaotic. Parts of the show were funny or touching or exciting or toe tapping; but all of it was presented with an amazing intimacy, warmth and intelligence that is extremely rare and memorable. This is a show you left feeling good. Some of MINIM's creators were scholarly in their knowledge of music but this musical perfectionism did not prevent them from having a sense of humor as well; and the whole show was so intensely magical and entertaining that mere words describing the individual skits or giving lyrics to the songs in no way conveys the totality of the experience of actually being in the audience for a live performance.
I saw the show about 18 times over the course of 2 years, during which the cast changed slightly. First Sarah Atkinson (who had joined the show during its London run, having taken over the Jeannette James part from Jane Fyffe) left and was replaced by Barbara Quaney; then Dana Valery (who had joined the show back in Johannesburg in 1964) left and was replaced by Helene Ireland (later Slack and now McMullan). By the time the show reached the San Francisco stop of its U.S. tour, Nigel Pegram had married April Olrich on February 18, 1968 atop Coit Tower; followed 2 days later by Paul Tracey's marriage to Barbara Quaney in the Cathedral which can be seen in the film BULLET (thus ensuring a certain ongoing stability to the cast!).
I saw it most often on Broadway, but I also trekked out to see it in Mineola on Long Island, at Papermill, New Jersey, my hometown of Philadelphia and in Boston, where it ended its American tour on May 25, 1968 (where I got invited to the closing night party and was the only depressed one there - I NEVER wanted this show to end). I must say the best place to see MINIM had been the intimate setting of the John Golden Theatre on Broadway, although it adapted well to larger theatres. I have retained some of my ticket stubs, so I can quote the amazingly low prices theatre tickets were then: $7 for the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia for an orchestra ticket to an evening show and $5.40 for an orchestra ticket to a Saturday matinee; the Colonial in Boston where the show closed its US tour also topped out at $7; the top for the show in New York was $7.95!
These MINIM webpages evolved slowly. I started with the Playbill, the lyrics I had worked out 30 years ago from the various original cast albums, an audio tape of an actual Broadway performance kindly provided by Michel, many production photos from various editions of the show and notes on the costumes I had taken down when my friend Janet Hill and I decided to make a MINIM parody program 30 years ago. (Janet created most of the costumes and I did all of the writing; we shared photography duties).
I had been pestering Paul over the last 30 years with various questions about the show, and he got the brunt of my initial set of new questions. He eventually put me in touch with Nigel and Andrew. Nigel had an amazing memory for details of the costumes, while Andrew was able to provide the correct spelling for many of the musical numbers with foreign lyrics (and also some translations). All three shared anecdotes and behind-the-scenes remembrances and corrected many of my errors and assumptions. After I had already churned out over 60 single spaced pages of documentation, Nigel kindly sent me a copy of the prompt script from the US/Canada/New Zealand/Australia tour. No one seems exactly sure who documented MINIM in this prompt script, but it seems likely it was the stage manager, perhaps Frank Rembach, the original SM or Lanier Davis, his eventual replacement.
I am indebted to this prompt script for details I had forgotten of much of the "business" that was going on during the mimes (which are just laughter on my audio tape of the show) and the comical musical numbers. It has been a revelation to me what a bad witness I would make, because some memories I have of the show proved to be completely false!
Although I was only 20 when I first saw MINIM, I had already seen quite a few Broadway shows. At that time I lived in Philly and any show with Broadway aspirations "tried out" in Philly. (MINIM did not, being a proven commodity with a track record from its London and African runs). At the time I saw MINIM I had never seen a show like it and, 30 years later, I can still make that statement.
It didn't have a "star"; it was a total ensemble production. It didn't have any "filler". There was no boring chorus song or dance where the same musical measures were repeated endlessly to pad out the running time. There was no "plot" so there was no need for a "subplot" where the less interesting secondary characters would have a scene.
Every single moment was riveting; every comic turn was funny; every song was enthralling. I have never experienced a theatrical event like this before or since. The performers were all appealing and the show captured my imagination to such an extent that, when I saw CABARET the night after I had seen MINIM for the first time, I could hardly sit still through it, since it dragged between musical numbers and seemed such a downer compared to the infectious good humor and non-stop entertainment of MINIM.
I don't know how else to explain it except it was that magic, once in a lifetime occurrence when the sum is greater than any of its parts. It has been a lasting regret of mine that MINIM didn't coincide with the video revolution because, as wonderful as the music is (although the Broadway original cast LP is out of print and it has never been released on CD or tape), just hearing it doesn't capture the joyous experience of actually seeing the show and I really wish it had been captured on video in its entirety for generations to come to enjoy because it is, without doubt, timeless entertainment.
(STOP PRESS: I have subsequently discovered the show was recorded by Westdeutscher Rundfunk for German television during the London run on November 22-23, 1965, and a comedy special with the London cast called TIME TO BREVE was made for the BBC in mid-October 1964; however, neither Rundfunk nor the BBC are able to locate the recordings in their archive, so they may have been wiped. In addition, a Dutch TV company "Ampexed" (taped) the show on January 9, 1966 at the BBC TV Centre. If anyone has access to these, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Possibly the reason the Broadway LP doesn't capture the magic of the show is that it was recorded in a studio, unlike the two South African and the British original cast albums which were recorded at their respective theatres before live audiences. In addition to these albums, Paul, Andrew and Jeremy Taylor recorded an album of original and traditional folk music in London in 1966 called ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW OUT OF AFRICA, which included Ayama, Mgeniso waMgodo waShambini, Chuzi Mama and London Talking Blues from the MINIM repertoire. It also includes Pretty Little Baby, which Paul, Andrew and Nigel used to perform in MINIM at Christmas time instead of Foyo.)
Despite my great enthusiasm for this show, I was never able to talk my parents or the people with whom I worked into seeing it, I suspect because it had no "name" performers (and, in my parents' case, they rarely went anywhere, even to the local movie theatre). This failure to introduce something I loved so greatly to anyone else was and still is a great source of regret to me. I really wanted to grab people by the lapels and force them to share this magical experience. It was an early life lesson that, in fact, people did what they wanted and I mainly had no effect on them.
I used to hang out at New York and Philadelphia theatre stage doors to get autographs. I had been to see MINIM for the first time on a Friday night with my friend Janet Hill, and the next day we went back before the matinee to stand at the Golden Theatre stage door and take some photos. When Kendrew, who did not know us from Adam, saw us freezing in the theatre alley in the 17 degree temperature, he let us backstage into his dressing room. This is something that never happened before or since with any other show - that a complete stranger, a performer, would do something humane like this - but it is characteristic of the whole cast - that they enjoyed having fans and didn't look down on them.
The sets for MINIM were designed by Anthony Farmer and Frank Rembach (MINIM's stage manager from the start, who left the show during the New York run). These were very sparse and surprisingly effective. Lighting (by Frank Rembach and Klaus Holm, the scenic artist coordinator) played a big part in the show; there were blackouts between most numbers, allowing the crew to set up whatever props were needed; occasionally the performers would carry these on or off. Changes of scene were indicated partly by lighting and partly by a devilishly clever series of blinds and flats -- wooden framed panels covered in woven raffia or hessian or bamboo -- which could move up, down, left and right. I had assumed the panels could also move forward (stage front) or backward (stage back), but Andrew reveals that, in fact, there were several rows of them, some further downstage, some further upstage, which provided this illusion. Crew members would stand behind them (out of sight of the audience) and walk them on or off stage, using an attached wooden handle. These panels were color coded (multiple reds, blues, greys, purples, yellows, oranges, greens and ivory-rose) in the prompt script. Sometimes the panels were used for punctuation and were cause for audience laughter on their own.
The costumes were designed by Heather MacDonald-Rouse and ran an amazing gamut, considering the number of nationalities that were spoofed. I have tried to describe the costumes when I comment specifically on each skit/number. (Nigel has proven to have an amazing memory for their colors and other specifics.) My favorite costumes were the more colorful Chuzi Mama, Skalo Zwi and Jikel'Emaweni ones worn by Dana; April's were particularly eye catching and outlandish in some numbers. Certainly these costumes contributed to the colorfulness and wit of MINIM.
The informality of the show was established during the opening number when Paul speaks directly to the audience, introducing the multinational cast and explaining the use of hats to depict different nationalities. (The show aimed to satirize national characteristics through their folk music and dance.) This opening speech varied widely over the years and became quite jokey; when Barbara replaced Sarah in the cast and then married Paul, Paul would say, "Andrew is my brother, Barbara is my wife, and Nigel is our son," an in-joke which I'm sure baffled the audience. When I mentioned this to Paul 30 years later, he says he would put these jokes in to try to break up the cast, who had heard this introduction countless times over the years, and also to gauge audience response to see how quick they were to pick up jokes.
The show was presented on Broadway by Frank Productions which was owned by Frank Loesser (GUYS AND DOLLS and HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING). His liaison man was Alan Whitehead who suggested that a second company of MINIM be launched while the show was still on Broadway, but as it turned out, the talents of the cast were so unique they could not be duplicated by anyone available. Paul believes this is because the show was cast before it was written, and so it was tailored to the unique talents of its original cast. There was no production of WAIT A MINIM! or MINIM BILI that did not include Paul Tracey, Andrew Tracey, Michel Martel or Kendrew Lascelles. There was, however, a single understudy whom Andrew remembers as a "nice chap from Montana" who was trained in all the male cast's roles (this boggles my mind because of the musical expertise alone in the number of exotic instruments) but he never went on, although he did once or twice sing from off stage.
While the show was on Broadway, various celebrities saw it and visited backstage to congratulate the cast. Andrew recalls Leonard Bernstein coming to see them and declaring "You are all geniuses!"; you can imagine how chuffed they all were by that. Andrew further recollects when Jackie Kennedy saw the show, much of the rest of the audience kept standing up to watch her. Harry Belafonte came on opening night, with the intention of checking out a show from Africa which contained no black cast members, but after seeing it, he called off the picketing he had been considering. Nigel remembers receiving the personal congratulations of Benny Goodman.
After the show toured Australia and New Zealand for nearly 5 months, the cast disbanded. As I have only kept in touch with Paul, I am not able to report at all on Dana Valery (who was Sergio Franchi's sister and is now married to Peter Catalano and lives in New York), or Michel Martel and on some of the others the others only sketchily.
Nigel has kindly contributed the credits for April and himself:
April was born in Zanzibar of an English-born father and an American-born mother and brought up in the Seychelles, Gibraltar, England and South America, where she had her first ballet training as a child with Michel Borovsky at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. Discovered by Col de Basil, she joined his Original Ballet Russes as a baby ballerina of 13 and, following a South American tour, went to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York where she danced in CAIN AND ABEL in the role created for her by Alexis Lichine. She continued her training in New York with Georges Balanchine, Vladimir Obukov and Vera Nemchinova.
She then went to Paris for private tuition with the legendary Olga Preobrajenskaya and was flattered indeed when Margot Fonteyn asked her if she minded if she joined her private classes. When the Original Ballet Russes arrived at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, April was talent-spotted by the founder of the Royal Ballet, Dame Ninette de Valois and joined its world famous corps de ballet. In a very short time she became a soloist, dancing principal roles with the company for four years.
Her many leading stage roles include the original Whorse in Genet's THE BALCONY, Mme Polozov in Turgenev's TORRENTS OF SPRING, MILK AND HONEY, Yasmin in Basil Dean's HASSAN, THE TATTOOED LADY, the step daughter in Sir Donald Wolfitt's SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR, PAY THE PIPER, FROM HERE AND THERE, UNDER MILKWOOD, STANDING ROOM ONLY, Fatima in THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE. On Broadway she won the Whitbread Anglo-American Theatre Award for MINIM for Outstanding Musical Performance presented to her by Vivien Leigh in the presence of Sir John Gielgud and Henry Fonda. While in New York she was a constant guest on the Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson Shows.
Her TV appearances include roles in THE THIRD MAN, MAIGRET, THE AVENGERS, HOWERD CONFESSIONS, ROBERT'S ROBOTS (1973), THE PUNCH REVUE, Tommy Steele and Anthony Newley specials, the stripper in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's SEVEN DEADLY SINS, FRESH FIELDS (1985), SHAPING UP and SHE WOLF OF LONDON.
Her films include THE SKULL (1965), THE INTELLIGENCE MEN (1965) (with Morcambe and Wise), BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE (PURSUIT OF THE GRAF SPEE in the USA, 1956), MACBETH (1960), ROOM AT THE TOP (1959), HUSSY (1980), RIDING HIGH (1981), PRINCESS DAISY (1983), SEVEN CITIES OF ATLANTIS, SUPERGIRL, VERNISSAGE and A MANY SPLENDOURED THING. Click here for a video without sound of April demonstrating the Bossa Nova in 1962. April died April 2014 following a stroke.
Nigel was born in Cape Town, brought up in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Malaya, England, Tanganyika and Uganda. He gained a B.A. (Law) from Natal University, Durban, South Africa and then went on to Oxford in 1962. All set to be a barrister, his first love of theatre, born during Rhodesian school days (with such roles as Lady Macbeth, Portia in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, Puck in A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT DREAM and KATE in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW) led him during his time at Oxford to Michael Rudman's OUDS production of TWELFTH NIGHT, in which he played Sebastian. He also took part in the Oxford Revue at the Edinburgh Festival with Michael Palin and Terry Jones. To help finance his Oxford days, he performed a cabaret act at many Oxford balls and his first professional engagement was at Mayfair's Blue Angel night club where he soon became a regular.
After 6 months with the Second City Company in Chicago, he returned to England to join WAIT A MINIM!, taking over from Jeremy Taylor for the last 5 months in the West End. While in New York, he was invited to study with Lee Strasberg at The Actors' Studio and there played the part of Eddie Dawes in EMPLOYMENT AGENCY. Other varied stage roles include The Dadda in ENTERTAINING MR. SLOANE, Captain Cat in UNDER MILKWOOD, Sam Brown in COLLABORATORS, Sir Benjamin Backbite in SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL (all at the Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead), the Duke of Windsor in CROWN MATRIMONIAL, Melvyn P. Thorpe, the Watchdog Man, in THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, Mozart in Pushkin's MOZART AND SALIERI, Gremio in TAMING OF THE SHREW, Wilson in THE CASE OF THE DEAD FLAMINGO DANCER and most recently Tullus in a new translation of Pierre Corneille's HORACE.
Following his own children's series, SING TO THE ANIMALS, his many British TV appearances include leading roles in ROBERT'S ROBOTS (1973), THE TOMORROW PEOPLE (1974), SPACE 1999 (1977), GET SOME IN (1977), THE OTHER ONE (1977), LEAVE IT TO CHARLIE (1980), CAN WE GET ON NOW PLEASE (1980), THE PROFESSIONALS (1980), METAL MICKEY, TOM DICK AND HARRIET, THE INQUEST OF NEIL AGGETT, SQUARING THE CIRCLE, FRESH FIELDS (1985), THE FRONT LINE, THE SINGING DETECTIVE (1986), HINCKLEY HOUSE, PULASKI (1987), THE GIBRALTAR INQUEST, CAPITAL CITY, NEWS HOUNDS (1990), NEVER COME BACK (1990), DROP THE DEAD DONKEY (1990), SOUTH BY SOUTHEAST, LOVEJOY (1992), VAN DER VALK (1992), DIANA HER TRUE STORY, UNDER THE HAMMER and 3 series of the delightful cricketing OUTSIDE EDGE (1994) (in which he played Nigel), CROWN PROSECUTOR and most recently MELISSA (1997).
His films include FUNNY MONEY, CHARLES AND DIANA - A ROYAL LOVE STORY, PRINCESS DAISY, THE AMERICAN WAY with Dennis Hopper and Michael J. Pollard. (The film won prizes at both the Venice and Avoriaz Film Festivals - released in the USA as RIDERS OF THE STORM , in which he played Willa Westinghouse, the first successful female U.S. Presidential candidate, a role no doubt made easier by his early Shakespearean female impersonations), POWER OF ONE (1992), SPLIT SECOND, PROTEUS (1995), in which he played the Russian scientist, Dr. Shelley, and a Ruth Rendell adaptation, ROAD RAGE (1998).
A keen photographer and painter (he has had works hung in the Sunday TIMES Water- Colour competition), he is a 14 handicap golfer and is much used in the world of voice-overs. Some of his many voices can be heard in AN AMERICAN TAIL - FEIVEL GOES WEST (1991).
I caught Sarah in an episode called CHILDREN OF AURON on the British science fiction TV series BLAKE'S SEVEN in which she played Franton. This first aired in the UK on February 19, 1980. Here other film and TV credits can be seen here.
Kendrew appeared on THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS TV series where he recreated one or two of the MINIM skits, which I think were the Palace Guard being tortured by the balloon and eating the fly. (The original Broadway cast did The Gumboot Dance on the old ED SULLIVAN Show.) Kendrew made somewhat of an impact by reciting an antiwar poem called THE BOX on THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS SHOW. It subsequently appeared on a 1972 record album of his poetry called EARTH FUNGUS AND THE STUFF OF STARS. He also had a one-act play produced on PBS called TIGERS; it was a dialogue in which he costarred as a lion tamer with Marilyn Dale. This aired on January 13, 1972. It was published in the book The Best Short Plays 1973 edited by Stanley Richards.
Also in 1973, a 45 RPM spoken word recording with FLUTE MAKER on one side and WILD BIRD on the other was issued by United Artists Records, directed and produced by Nikolas Venet. UA-XW240-W.
In searching the Internet for Kendrew, I came across a brief mention of a play of his that was put on at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994, the title of which (WATERHOLE) the Guardian reviewer fails to supply, but it was financed by his sister, Gillian van der Heijden. Apparently the press handouts for the play called Kendrew "a poet, playwright and visionary with an inherent Celtic sensitivity towards mankind and the universal mission." Prior to MINIM, he had a small role in the Beatles' film HELP! In 2001, Kendrew surfaced as the screen writer for FOCUS, a film about anti-Semitism based on a novel by Arthur Miller.
Simultaneously, I discovered a video of THE ARGUMENT (1999), an 11-minute surrealist short originally directed in 1971 by Donald Cammell about a director's unsuccessful attempt to make a nature film with his uncooperative actress. In this film, Kendrew played the Director and is dressed very much the way he did as the Tuba Man in MINIM, with a long black coat, a black floppy brimmed hat, as well as long light colored scarf, reminiscent of Tom Baker's DOCTOR WHO. The Utah settings are breathtaking, with photography by Vilmos Zsigmond.
Through the kindness of Paul Tracey, I was put in touch with Kendrew in 2007, who informed me of his script work on THE ARYAN COUPLE (2004), now available on DVD. He had two novels out: TAMARA HUNNEY and A CHILD'S GUIDE TO HERESY. Trafford Publishing is already accepting orders for another called BLOOD OASIS. Other titles in the works include TEACUP COWBOYS and THE SECOND RIVER.
Andrew has pursued his love of steelband and started his own band in 1970 called The Andrew Tracey Steelband. By 1975, he had an 8-piece band. In 1978, he and his family moved from Johannesburg to Grahamstown, where he eventually formed other bands, now mostly with university students. He says, "Steelband gives me tremendous pleasure, as I can go on having as much fun with it, in the arrangements, the playing, the camaraderie, as I ever did in MINIM." Up until 1995, Andrew's was the only steelband in South Africa for 28 years. The band has participated in commercial promotions, played with the national symphony orchestra, at agricultural fairs and at the Grahamstown Festival, (the biggest arts festival in the Southern hemisphere, where, in July 1996, Andrew did a show with mbiras and kalimbas, as well). He was asked to adjudicate the second South African Steelband Festival in Durban in November 1996. In 2002 Andrew was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the E.Cape Government Arts and Culture Department.
Other performances have mostly involved African instruments and his job as Director of the International Library of African Music, the research institution founded by his father in 1954, which Andrew took over on his death in 1977. This is now incorporated with Rhodes University, where he retired in 2008 from teaching courses and research into African music. Andrew contacted me to point out that 2004 is a triple anniversary, Rhodes University (100), ILAM (50) and his steelband on the Grahamstown Arts Festival (25). Also, 10 years of South African democracy. Andrew was given an honorary Doctorate of Music by Natal University. He was considered for the lead in the James Uys THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY and I think he would have been wonderful in the role that went to Marius Weyers.
Paul appeared often on PATCHWORK FAMILY, a American children's series on CBS TV. He recorded an LP of songs for which he wrote the lyrics and music called SOMETHING ELSE; the following audio cassettes of his original songs are still available: THE RAINBOW KINGDOM (songs for youngsters, which won the American Libraries Notable Recording award), TALES FROM ZIMBABWE and ONE MAN SHOW (songs for older folks). He appeared on Broadway as the "broker skeptic" in THE ROTHSCHILDS and can be heard on the original cast album doing the song "They Say". He and his late wife Barbara (who replaced Sarah Atkinson in MINIM) appeared as the pot smoking couple in the original London production of COMPANY. He has had some of his original songs show up on the old MUPPET SHOW (Gonzo sang "The Wishing Song" and the Muppet Monsters sang "The Ugly Song"). He also appeared off Broadway in a play called SPLIT LIP.
Paul continues to be very creative, writing both words and lyrics to his own songs and has created and appeared internationally in a series of one-man shows, including those based on his being British (THE GREAT BRITON), on being African (ABOUT AFRICA), one on ecology (OUR LITTLE BLUE PLANET), one on building character in children (YOUR CHARACTER COUNTS), and two others: THE INTERNATIONAL MUSIC MAN and A WORD TO THE WISE. He can be seen (very briefly) in a 1996 video called KIDS FOR CHARACTER which miscredits his song to another writer. He still sells kalimbas and African xylophones, a cassette called HOW TO PLAY THE KALIMBA, as well as the book THE LION ON THE PATH which is an anthology of African folk tales collected by his late father, if anyone is interested in acquiring these! The California Alliance for Arts Education gave him their Lifetime Achievement Award as a professional artist for his work in presenting the arts in education.
I had not been able to track down Dana Valery but in 2003 I was contacted by Mike Peterson who sent me this link: http://www.danacatalano.com/Default.htm. Apparently, Dana has given up show business and is now an energy healer and spiritual trainer.
Following are some parody cast biographies Kendrew wrote for MINIM's South African run. They are mainly nonsense but contain a germ of truth. The full spelling of the cast names is from information I ferreted out over the years and not to be blamed on Kendrew. Paul tells me Michel chose Martel from a brandy label (that long Tino, etc. name is his real one). Paul further enlightens me that Krugersdorp is where he and Andrew lived; and DeAar is a nothing place where one changes trains. The reference in Kendrew's bio about him never getting any dialogue is because in addition to the mime he does in MINIM, he played the Mute in THE FANTASTIKS.
ANDREW TRAVERS NORMAN TRACEY plays 133 instruments...the only one he can't get a sound out of, he leaves parked outside. His main interest in life is getting sounds out of things. He was recently voted Mister Krugersdorp...he is the only man in Krugersdorp who knows this. His knowledge of folk songs and African music does not help him on the stage...his main ambition is to become an African.
PAUL HUGH LAWRENCE TRACEY is related to Mister Krugersdorp but does not publicly acknowledge this. He has blonde hair, one on each side of his face. His off-beat personality is due to his boyhood years, which he spent in a small Nigerian war drum. He is dedicated to the building of musical instruments...and hopes to become a screwdriver.
JEREMY TAYLOR is a coffee bar. He is easily recognisable by his guitar, which he wears parted on one side. In his spare time, he is a schoolteacher. He takes his own apple to school every morning. A one time coffee bean, he hopes to become a hangover. He lives with his wife and baby girl in a penny whistle...on the northern side. After the show, he will turn back into a coffee bar.
KENDREW LASCELLES, who does not like dancing with Zelide Jeppe, doesn't like dancing. He spends much time travelling. He finds the three day rest on De Aar platform inspiring. When asked why he never gets dialogue with Gluckman, he said, "Watchasayhey man?" He thinks Leon Gluckman is a square. Keen on hieroglyphics, he has the biggest collection of lift doors in the world. He loves flies.
MICHEL MARTEL (TINO JOSEPH NOAH RAULT de K/-BRAIZE… de RAMSAULT) is French. He sings in Tamil. He sings in 35 different languages. Sometimes he looks serious. He is very keen on opera. He is completely untrained and sings delightful Italian arias in Tamil. When asked if he had intentions of going abroad, he replied, "Heyrhgiea - jdkei!" He yodels beautifully in 34 different languages.
October 2012: Nigel came across some black and white photos taken during the 1968 Australian tour, and I have uploaded them here.