A colorful and illuminating memoir of a cabaret performer.
Taking a look back, we see twelve-year-old Cliff helming a racing dinghy in the midst of a thunderstorm on the Vaal River. His father yells at him not to be a sissy, and he brings the boat back to shore alone.
We then travel to London with his family escaping the tumult of Apartheid. He trains for the Olympics, but drops out, enrolling in the South African military where he subjected to harsh treatment and name calling – Fokken Jood. After a honorable discharge, he works in cabaret at seaside resorts and is recruited as a gymnast in a cabaret, where he realizes that the stage is his destiny.
The memoir fast forwards to Cliff’s meteoric rise at the Moulin from swing dancer to principal in Formidable. Off stage he gets into fights with street thugs, hangs out with diamond smugglers, and has his pick of gorgeous women. With a year at the Moulin to his credit, doors open for him internationally and back in South Africa. He earns a starring role in Egoli: Place of Gold, and marries his long-time girlfriend, Colette. On their honeymoon to Paris, Cliff says, “Merci Paris for the best year of my life.”
This is the memoir of an actor and dancer who paid his dues in a wholly unique way, full of fascinating anecdotes and earnest reflections.
Jonathan Kirsch, book editor of the Jewish Journal