Patrons are served and entertained by Cape Town’s immense pool of talented young performers
IT INITIALLY sounds weird when a patron upon entering Stardust Theatrical Dining is advised to get their waiter’s name, in case it will be written in lights one day.
It only sinks in after a few drinks of the bar’s finest and brightest wines and nibbles from its wholesome, sumptuous taste of designer tagine menu.
This is no ordinary restaurant.
Patrons are served and entertained by Cape Town’s immense pool of talented young performers. They are equally good, if not better, behind the microphones and drums as they are behind the aprons.
True to form, this place has been a breeding ground for a crop of new South African music stars, most prominent, the 24-year-old Richard Stirton, winner of the Voice SA Season 1 (2016).
He once plied his trade at the restaurant located in the Lowry Road in the Woodstock area of the Mother City. “I started at Stardust at the end of 2013 when I was about to take my gap year to pursue music in 2014,” the young man behind the successful Middle Ground debut album, said.
“I auditioned at the old Rondebosch venue just before Stardust moved to its new and improved venue in Woodstock. Thankfully my audition went well and I got in.”
Stirton said Stardust enabled him to hone his skills and become comfortable on stage.
“The bosses and managers at Stardust are very supportive and allow you to bring whatever music you want to perform, provided you do it well enough. This allowed me to sing a wide range of songs thus allowing me to learn a lot about my voice,” The Voice inaugural winner said.
“The fact that you also have to serve, interact and vibe with people in the audience was a huge learning curve for me and helped me become very comfortable on stage.”
At Stardust, performances are spaced between presenting the menu, setting the tables, pouring wine and balancing dietary whims of the guests. The extremely professional and energized stage performances of the waiters and waitresses complement the drinks and the Mediterranean dishes.
The way the budding musicians are dedicated to clearing the tables, taking orders from clientele, never before has a job been accomplished with such finesse, enthusiasm and such grace.
Some of Stirton colleagues currently making waves in the industry the same way they impressed at Stardust are Luke Lovemore, who is currently doing music full time and finished seventh in The Voice Season 2.
Others making an impression in the industry are Shannon Devy, Adrian Fowler and Evan Strauss. “They are doing really well in the industry. Adrian is a brilliant drummer and is actually doing international tours with a local band called ‘Early Hours’. It was always a matter of time with Adi. He’s just that good,” Stirton remarked.
Devy and Strauss have since started the project “Lo Ghost”, which is taking Cape Town by storm. “They are both phenomenal musicians. Together, they are making some incredibly powerful, fresh music. They should definitely be checked out by anyone who is a fan of quality, new music,” Stirton recommended.
Mike Charles, who is a radio presenter in Belito, Durban, is also a performer at Stardust. “There are a lot of guys who are doing music full time that I still interact with in the industry, over and above just being good mates with them,” Stirton said.
Guests have been astounded by the mix of talent. “The variety of talent and genre was enchanting in the extreme,” said one-time patron, Dean Workman.
“Never had I imagined it fantastic food, incredible service and talent all under one roof. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough Experience the magic. You will not be disappointed,” Workman said.
All prospective employees need to do is to ace the audition to stand any chance of being part of this experience, said Lionel L (Yuda) one of the Stardust managers. “We definitely have huge influence on the capability of the new and unpolished talented individuals that come through our doors. The immediate feedback from patrons sitting very close to the stage teaches the performer what to do to gain the attention of an audience. They swiftly learn what to do and what works and what doesn’t and is not to be repeated.
The more experienced staff coach, assist and share their talent to make the team stronger. Sometimes our guys may not be the better singers in a competition. They always will be the better performers.
We are very proud to have made a change in peoples lives like Nomfusi – Graeme Watkins – Sanda Shandu and many others ” Yuda said. – CAJ News