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Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Play tenderly deals with issues facing youth and adults in dealing with the HIV/AIDS. (Review by Shika Budhoo)

Amagama Amathathu is a two hander show starring Mpume Mthombeni and T-Bone Hlahane. Well -known journalist and innovative director Gisele Turner, heads this South African play dealing with HIV and AIDS. The piece is defined in the Musho! programme as being under the genre ‘Puppet Storytelling’, the puppets created by Wendy Nel.

This show has run in Durban and greater Durban areas over the last four years and has evolved in the process as most great shows do. In the original cast was Kaseran Pillay who initially assisted this great team in the workshop process and elements of his collaboration with this team are still evident. Funny enough, this was my first viewing of this show and I’m certain when it comes back I will make sure I see it again.

The play tenderly deals with the issues facing the youth as well as adults in dealing with the HIV/AIDS crisis we ALL face. The use of puppets brings out the magic of the theatre and the performers carry the entire show with their brilliance as voice artists, singers, puppeteers, rappers, and dancers. With the topic being a ‘touchy’ subject, these two performers must be commended for their abilities to make an audience cry and then moments later have them bent over with laughter.

When faced with a play such as this, with its strong didactic nature and unusual story-telling mechanisms I have noticed that audiences tend to shy away in fear of being bombarded with too many ‘√≠ssues’ on stage. That said, the house was decently filled and the audience overwhelmed with all types of awareness, from HIV (all the beliefs and beliefs in it cures), unexpected pregnancy, rape, child-led households to other joyful natural feelings of love, happiness and expectation.

Amagama Amathathu will be touring schools soon, so if possible make sure its on your itinerary of shows to watch this year. - Shika Budhoo