Reviews

"Mary Steward is an entertainer at heart and this is one of the secrets of her success. Using her gifts at a raconteur she engages at a very personal level with her audience and with her warmth and honesty - no to mention her wit - she draws people in right from the beginning and holds them till the last line. She is screamingly funny!"  (Daily News, March 2008)


Men's Room
            
"Musho! Musho! Musho! What a brilliant, hilarious high on which to end this year’s Musho Festival at the Catalina Theatre. 

Mary Steward is regarded as a ‘festival favourite’ and rightly so. This year she presents, in her amiably-conversational, story-telling way, her insights into that age-old chestnut – the differences of the sexes. And, as the title implies, it’s the guys or ‘boy/men’ she has in her sights. 

She holds her audience mirthfully captivated as she plots the progress from her brother’s preference for bubblegum milkshakes (it had nothing to do with the flavour – the bubblegum one was blue! She on the other hand was into strawberry – pink you see) and marbles… to balls of a different nature (a testicular theme that runs throughout). The mysterious attraction of the boys’ bedroom and what her brother and his (not unattractive) friends did in there; to the locker room antics of the ‘sportsmen’; to the hunter’s antics around the braai fire and in the barroom – it’s that ‘cave’ thing.

What makes Steward so engaging is that we can all, women included, so closely identify with each of her characters and the various situations she so ably and amusingly describes. The hour passed far too quickly for me and Amanda who agreed that we’d eagerly see the show again if the opportunity presents. 

Not surprisingly Steward was awarded the Suliman Family Trophy."
(Brian Roodt, Livewire)


"Your writing is astute, sensitively and wryly observed- and very funny!! You have grown in terms of being comfortable in the space and with your audience- and your character transitions, delivery of lines and comic timing are skilfully and slickly handled.  I like the truth in the piece and the humanity you share. And I appreciate your wit!  Well, well done! (Wendy, Durban)



 



"Mary delights with another of her very special style comedy pieces. The style of her work is becoming a tradition at the Musho Festival, and she finds the most entertaining topics to unpack. As with this piece she explores the other species, or as it is told by her father BOY MAN.


From the beginnings of her life she has encountered boys , her brother Glen , her father and those that pass through life as we grow up . Mary unpacks this starting with  bathing with dad, through the teen years of wanting to be in her brother’s room, to school days, through to University and dating  and then finally  marriage.

Well worth seeing her work if you have not , and if you have  see this one as well. Mary style of comedy will be  with her for a long long time . "Defending the Caveman"  has been around for ever  and  had very long runs around the county , WATCH OUT FOR MARY in this space"





Bridesmaid


Mary Steward presents her reflections on her experiences of having been a bridesmaid no less than seven times (and a flower girl three times) in this one woman show written, and  performed, by her, the show having been directed by Emma Durden - full marks to both of them. The attention to detail is superb with a great deal of thought having gone into the production to set the scene, e.g. rose petals on the stairs leading to the Catalina theatre, in the foyer and in the front of the stage and two beautiful flower arrangements on the stage. There are also shop mannequins centre stage dressed as a bride and a groom. These clothes are used as props to illustrate the action, as are the bridesmaid dresses on a clothes rack and a full length dressing table mirror. Indeed, two little girls are a prequel to the show as flower girls and a poem is recited by one of them - its relevance to the play coming out later. This also helps to set the scene beautifully.

 
We are treated to a decade of bad dresses, drunken dancing and the trials and tribulations of wedding preparations in a wonderfully humorous way. Relationships, families, décor and disasters are all covered. Not only are the script and its delivery superbly executed but Mary Steward's body language is also used to full advantage to complement these. Maximum use is made of special effects such as a television set (one can imagine one is seeing the programme), sound effects (such as a storm), lighting (darkness as a result of a failed generator), and the dance music, not to mention the bridesmaid's (and flower girl’s) dresses.





























Many other characters are portrayed by Mary Steward to illustrate the various aspects of the weddings at which she has been a bridesmaid, for example John the wedding coordinator, her brother (by wearing the dress suit jacket), a coughing and smoking dressmaker, and several relatives and mothers of the brides. The action is smooth and continuous, with never a static or dull moment. The humour is delightful and without malice, with the whole bridesmaid experience having lead the author towards her own discovery of herself. This is theatre at its best.





Womanhood

“The piece is billed as "especially great for woman" Quite on the contrary, if you have been a brother, a father, or just a male friend, you can enjoy and identify throughout this piece. Mary has a very natural and easy style on stage which allows the audience to engage and relate to their own childhood and adult experiences as she moves through childhood to adulthood. She beautifully explores the characters that mould and nurture us through our formative years, whether it be ones granny, mother, aunty, teacher or brother.


The production is tightly directed which keeps a well paced flow, and this keeps the audience latched on to every and each experience that is shared on stage. Mary's style is interactive, fresh and relaxed and does not intimidate the audience. This allows for each person in the audience to find there own memory. If you have a sister, or are a mother, father or a friend, you will find your story in this story.”   Review – Musho festival 2008

 


“There were moments of great mirth, as well as poignant moments.  The anticipations of a first French kiss, the agony of a first love lost, the Texan smoking granny, the comfort and stability of Lena.......  Mary gave all of her characters a credible voice - and I mean this both literally and figuratively.  I particularly noticed the audience reaction to the anxious new mother, trying to deal with the crying baby who just wouldn't stop.  The men all laughed heartily, the women didn't.

This is a clever production, with a message to all women to embrace the perfection of the imperfection of womanhood. I was lucky to attend Mary's workshop held during the day.  Mary is one savvy lady, who clearly is a deep thinker as well as being an accomplished performer.”  Sharon Emmerich 2009









“Mary Steward presents a hilarious journey through the trials and tribulations of woman's journey from girlhood to womanhood in all its aspects, often addressing questions - and answers - to members of the audience. She depicts many characters from seven and nine year old nieces to her older mother and elderly aunts, switching expertly from one to the other. A highlight is her depiction of the pressure of that first kiss and the heartbreak of being deserted by the boyfriend thereafter. Spot on is her enactment of how she has to cope, as a busy working mother, with preparing the school lunches for the children, bathing them,  answering the telephone and preparing her work assignment.

All this is done with the minimum use of suitable props, and very appropriate sound effects and lighting. Every woman could and would identify with the joys, sadness, pathos, irony and problems and it will indeed be enjoyed by the men in the audience as well.”   Maurice Kort – Durban 2009 


"Mary Steward presented Womanhood at the Inaugral Ladies Night at Umhlanga College, it was such a success that within the year she was back for the next Ladies Night! Womanhood was an outstanding success, with ladies identifying with the stereo types presented during the development from girlhood to Womanhood. Mary's clever use of music to add a further dimension to the memories that came flooding back added to the fun of the evening. People were crying with laughter and the happy buzz that was created the next morning around the school was worth every bit of organising an event like this"





Goddess

"With many people having seen Womanhood, Goddess was an almost instant sell out! Goddess explores the 7 facets/ typical women that are instantly recognizable to the audience. There were peals of laughter as ladies identified with the "goddess" laid out before them. Friends would recognize the varietals that made up the Goddess in one of their own friends causing much hilarity and the Women crying out for more once the show had come to an end. We look forward to what is next on offer from this talented actress."














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