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Saturday, January 23, 2010


The Musho Mini Festival packed seven productions into three days of intensive theatre-going.

The Musho Mini Festival of One and Two Hander Theatre at the Catalina Theatre packed seven productions into three days of intensive theatre-going. Hosted by the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) KZN, the fifth Musho International Theatre Festival of One and Two Person Theatre was held at the Catalina Theatre in Wilsons Wharf from January 14 to 17.

The festival is an annual event and showcases one-hander and two-hander productions, focusing on the art of the performer and excellence in story-telling, staging and entertainment.

Despite that the fact that the usual ten day festival held at two venues was condensed into one weekend-long festival at the Catalina Theatre, the audience attendance was substantial higher than previous years. There was a marked increase in both the audience numbers and audience demographics – with many first-timers attending the festival.

The festival was held on a reduced scale this year as none of the funders and partners who traditionally support Musho were able to offer funding this time, so the festival held productions gleaned mostly from in and around Durban, with the exception of Gaetan Schmid’s Rumpsteak – a delicious mime / physical theatre piece about a frenetic French restaurant - which was bought to Durban by Pentravel, a specialist leisure travel agency. On hearing the plight of the festival, Pentravel generously came on board to enable the headline show to travel from Cape Town. The Rumpsteak Company was accommodated courtesy of the Royal Hotel.

As has become tradition, The Musho Festival has an audience vote allowing all members of every audience to give feedback of what they thought of the show. The winner of the 2010 Musho Audience Award went to Senzo Mthethwa – a self-titled charming original story about a young Zulu boy growing up with an Indian family in Reservoir Hills, based on real experiences. The piece is jointly devised and written by Mthethwa, Kumseela Naidoo (who also directs) and Koobeshan Naidoo. The premise is Mthethwa, as himself, contemplating writing his life story and deciding where to start, what anecdotes to include and what to leave out.

The audience vote runner up prize went to Grant Jacobs performing his first solo piece – My Name is Lucky, which is directed by Jean van Elden. It is a compelling tale of a Durban street urchin with a heart of gold, who works as a car guard.

The other award which is a tradition at Musho is The Suliman Selection. The Suliman family has seen every show at every Musho festival over its five years of existence. Ahead of the second year, they donated a floating trophy which gets awarded annually to the show their family has enjoyed the most. This year the trophy went again to Ewok for this show iainEWOKrobinson is LIVE! This is the fourth in a series of shows, this time staged, in collaboration with visual artist Karen Logan and DJ Veranda Panda a.k.a. Liam Magner. “It comes complete with lyrical riddles, one liners, original music and video visuals, to leave your thoughts suitably scattered enough to start thinking again, from scratch.”

Runner up for the Suliman Selection was also Grant Jacobs for My Name is Lucky. They acknowledged that My Name is Lucky gave a face to the faceless and taught the audiences to be more attentive to people who most of us consider “invisible”. The Suliman family made a special mention of the talent of Senzo Mthethwa and his remarkable story.

In her closing address, Festival Director Emma Durden thanked the PANSA committee who organized the festival on a voluntary basis this year. She thanked the press for their amazing support and the Livewires word of mouth theatre supporters club for their reviews – which is an important facet of the festival and a useful feedback tool for the participants.

The general consensus was that the Musho Mini Festival was a great success in its current form and perhaps the intensity of a short festival encouraged more patrons to see multiple shows than the previous extended two shows an evening over ten days’ format. The weekend format certainly bodes well for the future, especially in the light of reduced arts funding.

After extensive research, PANSA realized that a festival early in the year staging more intimate theatrical productions is considered a great start to the year by performers and audiences alike. Musho benefits the performers as staging their shows and collecting reviews early in the year helps them for future seasons of the production through the year. The audiences love seeing an array of fabulous theatre early in the year when calendars are quiet and when the festive flurry is over.

For more information and for detailed reviews of the various shows, visit