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Friday, August 17, 2018


The Revolution is here! This piece is not for the fainthearted. (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy)

The Playhouse Company presents their 22nd annual Woman's Arts Festival this month in celebration of Woman's month. Amongst the many entrants is Confessions Of A Blacklisted Woman, written and directed by Zimkitha Kumbaca. This satirical look at modern black women uses many mediums such as music, poetry and dance to show us the evolution that brings the modern woman where she is today.

This show, like previous theatrical interventions such as The Vagina Monologues by Eve Enslin, takes on a radical feminist stance trying to create a revolution and a change of mindset that might force us to accept change when it is taking place. The Doll factory, like the play suggests, creates and modifies women into the roles that it sees fit, namely the pleasuring and servicing of the desires of the gentleman's club, ie patriarchy. It questions the objectification of women by men and othering caused by women. We are left pondering our acceptance of change that feminist struggles have brought thus far and remarkably baring witness to the lack thereof.

The set was checkered red and black with red infused into the costumes and the lighting drawing a strong links to passion and anger, just what the piece demands for change to be complete. I thought that the actresses were steady in their engagement throughout and that the director had made some poignant choices. I did feel that the second half dragged on a bit too long and that focus seemed to slip away towards the end but enjoyed the fact that the piece doesn't hold back the  punches.

This piece is not for the fainthearted. I do enjoy when theatre tries to engage with important social issue and none more important than equal rights, the freedom to be natural, a society free of rape and a sisterhood that supports other women instead of othering them.

Confessions Of A Blacklisted Woman runs in the Drama Theatre tonight and tomorrow (August 17 and 18, 2018). Tickets R80. - Verne Rowin Munsamy


This Sunday (August 19, 2018) at 14h00, the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg will host the clarinet concert presented by Music Revival which was postponed earlier due to injury.

Junnan Sun (clarinet)  and Mia Björkman-Sun (viola) with Christopher Duigan (piano) present a programme of Romantic Nineteenth century repertoire - music by Brahms, Schumann, Bruch and Mozart's 'Kegellsatt' Trio. 

Tickets R80 at the door.

The Tatham Art Gallery is situated opposite the Town Hall in Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Pietermaritzburg. It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10h00 to 17h00. Café Tatham is open on Saturdays. Safe parking with a car guard available. More information on 033 392 2801 or visit

All Music Revival Sunday concerts at the Tatham Art Gallery will now offer free tickets for all scholars & students. Under 16 should be accompanied by an adult and booking is preferred through MUSIC REVIVAL 083 417 4473 (sms or WhatsApp only) or email:


(Jim Gorissen)

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music will present Nederland’s guitarist Jim Gorissen on August 22 2018.

Gorissen’s multi-talent is illustrated by his activities in various fields such as: Salsa and Latin, Swing and Jazz, Rock and Pop. He is a regular visitor in Durban, and will feature a local band and talented Durban vocalist, Shomon.

Expect songs like Triste and Samba triste by Baden Powell as well as All the things you are by Powell/Kern/Hammerstein.

Gorissen plays with well-loved bassist Llewelyn Chetty who is a former music student at UKZN and is becoming one of Durban’s most sought-after session musicians. He has played many theatre productions and shows and has worked with numerous artists and bands both nationally and internationally, including Natalie R, Burton Naidoo, Neil Gonsalves, SAMA nominees Heels Over Head, Melvyn Peters, Martin Sigamoney and Jae, just to name a few. Talented Brenton Govender will be on drums.

Join Jim Gorissen for Latin and Flamenco influences on August 22, 2018, at 18h00 (doors open at 17h30) at Centre for Jazz and Popular music (CJPM), Level 2, Shepstone Building at UKZN Howard College Campus. Admission R80 (R50 pensioners, R25 students). For more details contact Thuli on 031 260 3385 or email


 (Left: Gloria Bosman)

Impressive Tribute Concert, acknowledging the contribution to South Africa of struggle icons Albertina Sisulu and Winnie Mandela. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The Playhouse Company’s South African Women’s Arts Festival featured an impressive Tribute Concert, acknowledging the contribution to South Africa of struggle icons Albertina Sisulu and Winnie Mandela. Directed by Jerry Pooe, the concert paid tribute to these icons under the theme Be The Legacy.

(Right: Khanyo Maphumulo. Pic by Val Adamson)

In a wide-ranging programme of moods, cultures and styles, the audience was privileged to enjoy top class performances from a beautifully-attired traditional dance company from the Eastern Cape to the impressive Playhouse Chorale, a jazz band and the splendid KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

Stars of the show were Khanyo Maphumulo and Gloria Bosman whose powerhouse skills had the audience in raptures. There was great hilarity and joyous response to much twerking from Maphumulo and one of her back-up singers!

An interesting feature of the evening – which honoured women and played to a mainly-female audience – was the number It’s Raining Men!
(Left: Lebo Mashile)
(Right: Gcina Mhlophe)

MC’s for the evening were acclaimed per-sonalities Gcina Mhlophe and Lebo Mashile who guided the first section of the programme with both charm and passion. The second part  was given over to Maphumulo and Bosman who gave full range to their vocal skills.

Visual images followed Albertina and Winnie’s lives, featuring photographs, including those of their weddings to their husbands Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela, who were instrumental in introducing them to politics. Both husbands were imprisoned on Robben Island for decades during which time the fearless and unstoppable women fought the struggle against apartheid.

Excellent lighting added to the powerful presentation and on-stage pyros provided an exhilarating finish.  – Caroline Smart

Thursday, August 16, 2018


(One of John Meyer’s artworks: Mandela)

Booking for KZN’s premier arts festival:  the 26th annual Hilton Arts Festival which will be hosted on the campus of Hilton College from September 14 to 16, 2018, has opened nationwide.

The festival invites the most interesting offerings from the creative industries in South Africa:  theatre; dance; comedy; musical theatre; family theatre; classical music; music revue; big band and contemporary music; visual art and crafts, as well as a series of mindscape lectures, events and discussions.

This year in honour of Mandela’s centenary commemorations, the three-day event has a strong Mandela feel – two massive outdoor exhibitions, the first being the thought provoking THINK bench encouraging patrons to think differently. The second will be based outside the Chapel: T.O.L.E.R.A.N.C.E is a monumental public art sculpture consisting of nine letters in bronze by international artist Guy Ferrer. Inspired by the life and character of Nelson Mandela, pianist, composer, arranger, Burton Naidoo has transcribed some of Mandela’s most iconic speeches and created a musical backdrop to them entitled Our Song. Also, a collection of John Meyer’s artworks Mandela: A Life’s Journey will be on display and making its second appearance at the festival is the wonderful participative initiative, 67 Blankets for Mandela.

(Gideon Lombard in “Die Reuk van Appels”)

Confirmed productions include as always a much-anticipated programme of quality drama. Some of the highlights are: the award-winning Die Reuk van Appels. Gideon Lombard stars in this stage adaption of the acclaimed 1993 debut novel by South African author Mark Behr, telling the coming-of-age story of Marnus Erasmus, 11-year-old son of a South African Defence Force (SADF) General. International award winning South African playwright, Mike van Graan's brilliant drama Green Man Flashing is a fast-paced political thriller written in a filmic style and features an all-star cast; Suddenly the Storm written by and starring the multiple award-winning, prolific playwright, Paul Slabolepszy, Charmaine Weir-Smith and Renate Stuurman, it is directed by Bobby Heaney, and boasts a stunning Greg King set design. Selwyn & Gabriel by Richard Kaplan, is a magical modern mystery about two strangers with secrets. Silkworm is a 2018 Standard Bank Ovation Award winner which weaves a beautiful cocoon around reality, created and directed by Jenine Collocott, performed by Taryn Bennett. Narrative Dreams is a play written by Lereko Mfono and directed by international award-winning director and actor, Omphile Molusi.

(Bryan Hiles in “Jakob”)

Jakob is an interesting mélange of mythology, folk tale and rural narration exploring the life of an unusual little boy based on a short story by lighting designer, Michael Taylor-Broderick, adapted for the stage by award winning actress, Clare Mortimer, it stars Bryan Hiles and is directed by Michael Taylor-Broderick. Similarly, The King of Broken Things is a wild and magical excursion into the rehabilitation of broken and discarded objects, hearts included. Written and conceived by Michael Taylor-Broderick.

The Ugly Noo Noo rocked the theatre world in 1988, featuring the infamous Parktown Prawn. This version performed by physical theatre actor, Mpilo ‘Straw’ Nzimande. You Suck and Other Inescapable Truths is an interdisciplinary play which tells the tale of the spirited misadventures of a Grade 9 Afrikaans pupil/underdog, Prettina, and her crucial survival-advice as a minority in an Anglophile high school.

For those in search of a laugh – there is an extensive comedy line-up featuring the talents of John Vlismas, Rob van Vuuren Aaron McIlroy, James Cairns, Jem Atkins, and Masood Boomgaard. Mentalist, Brendon Peel makes his first appearance with his show Hocus Pocus at this year’s fest.

There is an extensive musical theatre line up looking at the legends of Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and Miriam Makeba; as well as concerts looking at love in its many guises and life as a performer. 


An interesting piece for lovers of dance: Chiffonnade is a dance performance specifically made for toddlers and young children, created by French choreographer Michelle Dhallu of Carré Blanc Cie which has toured extensively internationally. Also Ash and Brad Searle AKA The Big Boys with Vanessa Harris and friends are back with three different dance-themed shows.

There is a particularly strong music programme on offer this year. Other musical concerts include Classic Blast presented by the KZN Youth Orchestra; The Drakensberg Boys Choir in Concert; The KZN All Stars Big Band; A gypsy journey for voice and piano; Last Night of the Hilton Proms; The Durban Symphonic Choir performing Dvorak Mass in D; concerts by Andrew Warburton (solo piano and with a quartet); Myfanwy Price (oboe) and Liezl-Maret Jacobs (piano); acoustic duos, Digby and the Lullaby; and Guy Buttery and Kanada Narahari.

Recognising one of South Africa’s greatest landscape artists, the Hilton Arts Festival will host a retrospective exhibition of the works of Errol Boyley to honour him - 100 years after he was born. The exhibition travels up from the Ramsgate Art and Books Festival to the walls of the Normand Dunn Art Gallery in the main Grindrod Theatre at the festival. This historic exhibition features a large body of work of Pietermaritzburg born Errol Boyley and is simply titled, Boyley’s World.

There is a strong art feel this year. 100 artists’ work will be on display all around the festival grounds.

Other programme highlights include a talk by Sonja Kruse, also known as 'The uBuntu Girl'; in conversation with playwright and actor Paul Slabolepszy; and various talks on music by Richard Haslop – who also appears in Michael Cross’s documentary, The Fun’s Not Over about the life and music of James Phillips. Strauss & Co will be hosting fun and informative mock auctions; there will be living art demos; Janet Solomon’s documentary on the plight of whales, Becoming Visible will be screened; a workshop presented by Assitej facilitated by Lereko Mfono; the ever innovative TWIST Theatre’s Novel to Script project will present variations on Hunger Eats a Man, and the annual interactive murder mystery dinner this year is The Strange Case of the Beaujolais Venus.

There are two mini festivals embedded in the main programme: The Jongosi Festival embedded in the main festival, takes place on September 14, 2018, and has a specifically, carefully-selected age-appropriate programme aimed at Grades 6 to 10 and Assitej hosts a programme of theatre and creative projects for young audiences.

The 26th annual Hilton Arts Festival will take place on the beautiful grounds of the Hilton College from September 14 to 16, 2018.

The festival would not be possible without the generous support of Hilton College, Tiso Black Star, Grindrod Bank, Black Coffee Design, DWR Distribution, Extreme Events, Bidvest Car Rental, KZN Dept of Arts & Culture, Redlands Hotel, Assitej South Africa, Loud Crowd, Sappi,  BASA, Corona and Capital Media.

For more information, visit or like the Facebook page, Hilton Arts Festival. Follow on Twitter @HiltonFest

All enquiries on 033 383 0126 / 7 or The full programme is on and programmes are now available from various outlets in Pietermaritzburg and Durban