Cape Town musical sensation Kat and the Kings is coming to the West End from 23 March (previews from 16 March) at the Vaudeville Theatre. The production is the first South African musical to open in London since the advent of majority rule.
The year is 1957. The setting, District Six, the "New Orleans" of South Africa where the local teens bop to the sounds of Fats Domino, imported by American sailors docking at the Cape of Good Hope. Kat Diamond is 17 and convinced that he's the best singer and dancer in the whole district. He and his band hit the big time for awhile - before crashing down. Forty years later, Kat, now a street shoeshine man, reflects on his youth and his moment in the spotlight.
Based on the real life memories of the show's star, Sallie Daniels, Kat and the Kings gives a rare glimpse of the "Cape Coloured", or mixed race, community of Cape Town. It highlights not only the exciting musical movement but also the iniquities of being a "non-white" entertainer under the apartheid regime.
The show's creators, David Kramer and Taliep Petersen, are two of the leading exponents of musical theatre in South Africa. They have collaborated on five musicals, including District Six and Fairyland.
Kat and the Kings premiered in London last year at fringe venue the Tricycle Theatre. It returns to the Tricycle for a limited run from 19 February to 14 March before transferring to the West End.