national Arts Festival Banner

Sunday, October 30, 2011


With some funky song and dance, this revue has a lot of appeal. (Review by Adi Paxton)

High energy and frightfully funny with some funky song and dance, It's All Fright by Me has a lot of appeal. The preview audience certainly left the theatre in high spirits.

A localised Halloween production, co-created by the cast and theatre management interns: Mandisa Tshioi and Shona Johnson, it provides many opportunities for the performers to shine.

Fortunate Dhlomo’s soulful singing of Colours of the Wind was particularly memorable while Charles Bandile Mkhise’s rendition of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance - complete with over the top costume, was a riot. Xolile Zondi as Pinky was noteworthy in Ndihambe Nawe.

In Make the Circle Bigger, the visual reference to the Rocky Horror Picture Show encapsulates the feel of the production. It is ‘spoof-y’ rather than merely spooky. The show .provides new takes on Thriller and Ghostbusters and The Adam’s Family by MC Hammer. For me Seasons of Love, from the musical Rent, was a really harmonious poignant highlight. An original composition, All Fright by Me had the audience spontaneously singing along at the end.

The second half allowed more dramatisation than the short links between songs in the first half and resolved the plot elements. In terms of characterisation, Shona Johnson played a sassy Jessica with energetic singing and exuberant dance. As Zakes, Thobani Mbhele got a lot of the laughs and had to work not to upstage others. Nhlakanipho Manqele was a delightful Ghoul, complete with bad puns and a stutter.

The show was ‘all right on the night’ when Themba Thwala (sound) stepped in as stage manager at short notice. A few initial technical glitches were overcome in the second half. Director Themi Venturas, aided by funky choreography from Daisy Spencer, has once again provided a platform for energetic young local performers to experiment. He has created a’ lekker’ local production.

A rap taxi number, a simple graveyard set (Themi Venturas) six intrepid friends and the nightmare characters of Pinky Pinky, Umsindo and Jap and the audience was along for the ride.

It's All Fright by Me runs until November 13. Tickets R85 (R65 student/pensioner). Watch the show during the first week and get in on the frightening deal: buy one, get one free. – Adi Paxton