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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Marc Lottering’s shows cancelled; Hall of Fame win overshadowed by producer rift

Lottering’s The Aunty Merle Things Get Real show was set to have a two week-long run at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park.

This year’s Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards Hall Of Fame Award recipient Marc Lottering finds himself in a tussle with producers, after the cancellation of the two week-long run of his Aunty Merle shows at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park.

“It was supposed to happen, we were all packed and ready to come with our Aunty Merle musical but the producers are this side. In January they decided the show would no longer be happening, so that’s a legal tussle… but we are disappointed,” Lottering told The Citizen.

Shows dropped

The Aunty Merle Things Get Real by Lottering was set to run from 16 February to 3 March 2024 at Theatre of Marcellus at Emperors Palace.

The musical was produced by Blu Bloods, who allegedly decided to pull out of the show at the last minute.

“As experienced producers and supporters of the arts in South Africa, we are never happy to be in a place where we have to pivot from a scheduled show,” Blu Bloods Head of Communications: Africa and Middle East, Monica Steyn told The Citizen.

Without expounding, Steyn said there were “numerous contributing factors that informed the ultimate decision of cancelling this show.”

The shows were announced last year around September to much fervour, with performances set for Fridays and Saturdays with matinees in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday.  

“This was a strategic business decision that was made mutually.  Blu Blood have worked with Marc for over a decade and have built both a professional and long-standing personal friendship with him,” said Steyn.

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Aunty Merle

Directed by Lara Foot with the role of Aunty Merle portrayed by Lottering where he’s supported by an ensemble that includes Royston Stoffels and Loukmaan Adams.

“The Aunty Merle character comes from a space of a lot of love, because my mother is in her character. When I perform the character I feel like my mom is there on stage,” said Lottering.

“I have a tattoo of that character on my arm because the journey that I’ve travelled with the character has allowed me, through the character to say a lot of things that if I said it, it wouldn’t necessarily have the same impact or would I be allowed to say it,” said the seasoned comic.

“But when you’re a woman in a floral dress who’s a housewife from the Cape Flats, people receive it more because it comes with a lot of entertainment.”

For the first time Aunty Merle will be on the big screen, first in Cape Town on the first weekend of March.

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Hall of Fame

The Comics’ Choice Hall of Fame Award celebrates Lottering’s remarkable contribution to the comedy landscape, marking him as an icon and trailblazer in the industry.

“I’ve been doing comedy for more than 20 years. I think I’ve grown up, [because] when they said to me they’re going to give me the award, I actually thought ‘yea, that’s right.’ I shout about [it being] right because I don’t think I would’ve been in that place previously,” he said gleaming with justifiable pride.

“But for me, comedy is a calling, to still be doing it and to have South Africans under one roof laughing, that for me is significant for the climate of the country.”

Despite the cancellation of Lottering’s shows, Steyn said Blu Bloods still supported the comedian who was on Wednesday announced as a Hall of Fame Award recipient by the Savanna Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards.

“We respect and support him as an artist and we celebrate his victories alongside him, and look forward to hosting him on our line-up showcases, as well as his award-winning shows and stage productions.”

The nominees of this year’s Comics’ Choice Comedy Awards were announced in at the Radisson RED in Rosebank. Celeste Ntuli, Robby Collins, Sifiso Nene, Dalin Oliver and Vafa Naraghi lead the pack with three nods each.

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