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Saturday, May 28, 2011


(Pic by George Tadden: Verushka Odayen, Ravi Subramoney, Senzo Mthethwa, Koobeshen Naidoo and Sharika China with Henry Ramkissoon and Kumseela Naidoo seated)

Evening of farcical fun and nonsense with a mini musical thrown in for good measure! (Review by Caroline Smart)

The Dingalings are currently presenting their new show, Dings, Flings and Other Things, which offers an evening of farcical fun and nonsense at Suncoast Supernova for a short season.

Subtitled Class of 85, it is directed by Dingalings stalwart Yugan Naidoo and sees two lovable rogues –Dingaling favourites Henry Ramkissoon and Koobeshen Naidoo - with Senzo Mthethwa (the award-winning star of Dingalings’ Boolulu Uncle) as the “man in the middle” and Ravi Subramoney who plays the “straight” guy in all the mayhem.

Four friends decide to go solo to attend their Class of 85 reunion. Henry (Ramkissoon) promises his wife that he will be off booze while he’s away and Koobie (Koobeshen Naidoo) is taking the opportunity to get away from his wife while staying in contact with his new-found Facebook love. Accompanying them are Senzo, who remains Koobie’s friend despite the fact that he was promoted over him, and the more solid member of the foursome, Ravi (Subramoney), who also provides the musical element.

Director Yugan Naidoo skilfully controls this irrepressible foursome in an entertaining farce that received gales of laughter from the packed audience. Henry Ramkissoon impresses in a role (“away from home a tiger, at home a mouse”) that could easily become a runaway caricature but he keeps it in the realms of credibility. Senzo Mthethwa in the role of the “fall guy”, the one who frantically tries to hold things from disintegrating into disaster, is a delight with very good comedy timing.

Koobeshen Naidoo is highly amusing as the philandering husband and Ravi Subramoney remains consistent throughout as the only unattached man. We meet the friends as they move into their rented apartment and what follows is much light-hearted banter and good-natured insults (not for the prudish!) between the foursome as the three older men explain their memories to the younger Senzo.

Meanwhile back at home, Henry and Koobie’s wives (Kumseela Naidoo and Verushka Odayen) decide they are bored on their own and opt to follow their partners. At the same time, the Facebook girlfriend (Sharika China) also pitches up. Chaos ensues in full farce mode!

There are actually two productions here – the opening farce Dings, Flings and Other Things which places strong focus on memories of youngsters growing up in the Indian community of the 80’s and then the makings of what could well be a full-length nostalgia musical paying tribute to the hit music of the times with choreography by Varsha Sharma.

The script is filled with hilarious lines which received the desired response from the audience. Footage on video allows the storyline to move outside of the set but the transition to a video tribute to Michael Jackson which heralds the Class of ’85 reunion sequence is too abrupt. This musical section sees the cast dancing and some spectacular lighting effects.

I would suggest to the Dingalings that a nostalgic musical is well worth pursuing in order to document memories such as sayings in the vernacular, childhood games, school discipline, bioscopes, milk delivered to your doorstep, ice cream vans and rented videos that came video machines, to name a few. With the all-pervading power of television, the richness of the “Indian accent”, as it were, the so-called stereotypical way of speaking, will disappear very soon. Professor Rajend Mesthrie has produced the Dictionary of South African Indian English but the accents, the sayings and the descriptions are so rich in humour and observation, they need to be preserved in theatre works as well.

Dings, Flings and Other Things has performances today (Saturday) at Suncoast Supernova at 17h30 and 21h00 and Sunday (May 29) at 18h00. Tickets R100 booked through Suncoast Cine Centre box office or on 031 328 3349/38. Early booking is advised. – Caroline Smart

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