David Kramer returns to the stage with an enchanting musical

Jenny Stead as Rosa de Miranda & Andre Terblanche as Josef Marais (Photo credit Gys Loubser)

The hugely talented David Kramer will be bringing his latest musical, Ver In Die Wêreld Kittie, to Cape Town during July and August.

The show “…is inspired by a true story that few South Africans are aware of,” David says – a story that’s bound to
be of particular interest to the local Jewish community. 

In her review of the show, which premiered at the 2023 KKNK and was followed by a showing at the Suidoosterfees, local critic, Robyn Cohen, describes the show as “…a beautifully crafted nugget of South African music history brought to life…”. 

The factual story behind the show is that of Josef Marais, a young Jewish man from the country  who became an international celebrity. Kramer came upon the story through a family connection of his wife, Renaye, “…and from that the extraordinary Ver In Die Wêreld Kittie emerged,” Robyn explains.  

What makes the story so interesting to us in Cape Town is that Josef Marais was born in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village near Somerset West, and was named Joseph Pessach. As a youngster, he learned how to play the piano, and went to the UK in the 1920s with an orchestra. Because of the antisemitic mood at the time, he felt that his surname would be a limitation, and so he took on the name Josef Marais. Moving to the United States, he met a Jewish refugee who had fled Nazi-occupied Holland. Her name was Rosa de Miranda. Robyn continues: “He discovered that she could sing and they became a successful duo, singing folk music — Afrikaans-inspired music — under the name Josef and Miranda. Josef translated the songs into English. They were hugely successful and partied with the glitterati in Hollywood such as Burt Lancaster and Humphrey Bogart. The international hit, Sugarbush (1952), sung by Doris Day and Frankie Laine, is attributed to Josef Marais. Many will know the Afrikaans version – Suikerbossie.“ 

Kittie in the title of the show represents a fictional housekeeper and caregiver on the fictional farm that Josef grew up on in Worcester. She listens to radio broadcasts to keep up-to-date with his many successes in the music world. According to Robyn, “We see her perception of his apparent abandonment of his family, as he ploughs ahead with his career. Kittie remains on the farm while Josef has his freedom, …[moving]….first…to Cape Town, then England, and finally America.” The story of Josef Marais’s travels and successes is conveyed “through the eyes of those back home in South Africa.”

Robyn is full of praise for the musical: “It is memory, heritage, tribute and, although inspired by a true story, it goes beyond the legend and evokes many layers – love story, leaving home versus staying and poignantly those left behind. This is the genius of David Kramer – transfiguring a story of the Jewish lad from the Boland into a remarkable piece of musical theatre which transcends biopic and yet retains an essence of homage, tribute and celebration.” 


Performed in English and Afrikaans, the production will be presented featuring English subtitles.

With thanks to Robyn Cohen/TheCapeRobyn. See Robyn’s full review here.

Robyn Cohen is editor of TheCapeRobyn arts and lifestyle website. Sign up for the website and receive the free weekly newsletter on Fridays at noon. For reviews, updates and alerts on what’s on, follow TheCapeRobyn public facebook page, Instagram and TikTok pages.

Robyn Cohen

Ver In Die Wêreld Kittie will be performed at The Blik, 110 Gunners Circle, Epping

The dates and times of the show are: 
Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 July @ 14:00 & 16:30
Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 August @ 14:00 & 16:30
Friday 9 August (Public holiday) @ 14:00
Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 August @14:00 & 16:30

Ticket prices: R230 per person. Seniors pay R200. Book at Webtickets, search for Ver In Die Wêreld Kittie

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