Compelling South African theatre on offer in ‘Reoca Light’ at the Playhouse

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Rory Booth stars in Ashwin Singh’s ‘Reoca Light’ at the Playhouse Loft Theatre in Durban.

The Singh Siblings (an artistic collaboration between Ashwin Singh and Shantal Singh) will present award-winning playwright Ashwin Singh’s one-man play Reoca Light at the Playhouse in April.

The play celebrates the indomitability of the human spirit and pays tribute to unsung heroes in contemporary South Africa as well as those from our recent and distant past. Continue reading

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Familiar Durban landmarks feature in the new South African comedy, ‘Keeping Up With The Kandasamys’

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Director Jayan Moodley with script supervisor, Ashley Aldworth focus on the monitor during the filming of ‘Keeping up with the Kandasamys’ in Durban, while producers Junaid Ahmed (left) and Helena Spring ( back) look on. The film opens in SA on Friday, March 3.

The much-anticipated South African film Keeping up with the Kandasamys directed by Jayan Moodley and produced by the late Junaid Ahmed and Helena Spring premiered to an audience of almost 600 ten days ago at Gateway Ster-Kinekor in Durban. It opens nationwide in cinemas this Friday (March 3). Continue reading

Get your exclusive tickets to ‘Keeping up with the Kandasamys’

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Mishqah Parthiephal and Madhushan Singh star in ‘Keeping Up With The Kandsamys’.

Be one of the first to watch the new comedy, Keeping up with the Kandasamys, at one of the exclusive screenings taking place at selected Ster-Kinekor cinemas around the country on Sunday, February 26.  Bookings open on February 22 and tickets are limited. Continue reading

Play about Whoonga drug crisis wins big at 2016 Durban Theatre Awards

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Ulwembu, a play which examines the Whoonga drug problem in KwaZulu-Natal, won five prizes at the Mercury Durban Theatre Awards. Photo: File

ULWEMBU, a play which tackles the serious consequences of the Whoonga (low grade heroin) drug problem in Durban, was one of the big winners at this year’s Mercury Durban Theatre Awards.

Over the course of 2015, award-winning playwright and director Neil Coppen (Tin Bucket Drum, Tree Boy, Abnormal Loads and Animal Farm), actress Mpume Mtombeni, KwaMashu-based community-theatre group, The Big Brotherhood, and educational sociologist, Dylan McGarry, set about exploring the crisis.

The result of the two-year research/play-making process was a powerful new theatre production, which gave audiences the opportunity to walk in the shoes of users, dealers, police officers, social-workers and parents of drug users. Continue reading

Classic musical, ‘The Sound of Music’, to be staged at The Playhouse in Durban

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Lynelle Kenned and the young actors and actresses playing the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music at the Playhouse.

The Playhouse Company is set to delight theatre-goers in KwaZulu-Natal with its festive season staging of The Sound of Music, which opens in the magnificent Playhouse Opera Theatre on November 24 and runs until December 30.

This fresh, sparkling, new production will be directed by award-winning theatre director and actor, Ralph Lawson. Continue reading

Review: Shrek The Musical

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Gorgeous in every way: great sets, costumes and performances make it a must-see show
Review: Shrek The Musical
Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre,
UKZN, Durban
KICKSTART Theatre Company’s Shrek The Musical is big, green and fabulous.
Artistic director Steven Stead says it’s the most expensive show the award-winning Durban company has produced and, having seen it, I can believe it.
Designer Greg King has pulled out all the stops to create a myriad gorgeous sets, puppets and a gigantic love-sick dragon (voiced by Shelley McLean and manipulated by Peter Court).
The Broadway musical is based on the DreamWorks animation filmShrek, and tells the story of a solitary ogre (played by Lyle Buxton) who is forced to leave his comfy swamp when it’s invaded by a host of fairy-tale characters including Pinocchio, the Three Bears, the Three Little Pigs, a Wicked Witch, the Big Bad Wolf, Peter Pan, the Ugly Duckling, the Fairy Godmother, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Shoemaker’s Elf.
They have been evicted from their homes in the Kingdom of Duloc by the controlling — and diminutive — Lord Farquaad, brought to life in a superb performance by Cobus van Heerden who spends almost every scene he is in on his knees. His song and dance number What’s Up Duloc? is a triumph.
Shrek decides to confront Farquaad and along the way (reluctantly) teams up with a talkative Donkey, played by Rory Booth, whose scene-stealing performance is a joy to watch.
I especially loved the number Make a Move, in which Donkey does a bit of a James Brown/Steve Wonder number while accompanied by the Three Blind Mice.
But I digress. When Shrek and Donkey arrive in Duloc, Farquaad decides to use the ogre to rescue Princess Fiona from her dragon-guarded tower so that he can marry her and become king. In return, he promises to give Shrek his swamp back.
This pair of unlikely heroes soon rescue the feisty princess, played by Jessica Sole, who has a great vocal range and wonderful comedic timing. But things get complicated when Shrek and Fiona fall for each other on the way back to Duloc.
Shrek The Musical is packed full of toe-tapping show tunes, hilarious references to other musicals, including Disney’s The Lion King, and moments which will live long in the memory — Shrek and Fiona’s farting and burping contest and Gingy the Gingerbread Man’s “torture” scene spring to mind.
Stead has drawn wonderful performances from his talented leads and ensemble. And together with King and his creative team of Tina le Roux (lighting), Stephanie Pais (sound) and Shanti Naidoo (the enormous array of colourful costumes), they have created the biggest, brightest musical comedy you’re likely to see this year.
Theatre goers simply cannot afford to miss Shrek The Musical, and if you don’t leave the theatre humming along to Neil Diamond’s I’m A Believer then I’m as big a liar as Pinocchio.
Estelle Sinkins
Shrek The Musical is being staged at 7 pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and at 2.30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the Howard College campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. Booking is at Computicket. Please note: no children under six.
This review was first published in The Witness.
The fairytale characters in Shrek The Musical. Photo: Val Adamson

The fairytale characters in Shrek The Musical. Photo: Val Adamson

Shrek (Lyle Buxton) and Princess Fiona (Jessica Sole) in a scene from Shrek The Musical. Photo: Val Adamson

Shrek (Lyle Buxton) and Princess Fiona (Jessica Sole) in a scene from Shrek The Musical. Photo: Val Adamson

Shrek (Lyle Buxton) and Donkey (Rory) Booth prepare to set off on their adventure in Shrek The Musical. Photo: Val Adamson

Shrek (Lyle Buxton) and Donkey (Rory) Booth prepare to set off on their adventure in Shrek The Musical. Photo: Val Adamson