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Monday, March 12, 2012


(Ash and Bradley Searle appear in “Big Boys Don’t Dance”)

The Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg will host the sixth annual Theatre Minifest, which aims to bring new and innovative one- and two-person plays to the city on March 16 and 17. Most of the shows have won festival awards, and some are so new that it is hoped they are on their way to winning some! Three of the shows feature graduates of UKZN and the line-up of five excellent theatre pieces is diverse and dynamic.

March 16 at 18h00: Crush Hopper. Returning to the Hex for a second year, this one woman show is conceived, written and created by Mandisa Haarhof in collaboration with director Ntokozo Madlala. The play was first performed at the Musho Theatre Festival in Durban in January 2011 where it won the festival’s Audience Favourite Award. It also won an Ovation Award at last year's National Arts Festival, and played to sold-out houses at the Witness Hilton Arts Festival. It is a beautiful true tale of a young woman searching for love and identity in the midst of trying circumstances. Through crushing and crushes, she finds a way to cope with her displacement and an escape from her numbing reality!

Mandisa Haarhof grew up in Somerset- East - a small ‘boere dorpie’ in the outskirts of Port Elizabeth. She lived there during the exciting times of the advent of South African democracy and as a young girl her greatest desire was to be ‘white’ and marry a white boy with a farm. She was raised by her Afrikaans speaking grandfather, later moved to live with her aunt in a Xhosa-speaking community and now lives in KwaZulu-Natal where she is finishing her Masters degree. This complex experience of multilingualism and multi-culturalism is reflected in the way in which she tells her story. Through the subtle weaving of storytelling, poetry, movement, characterisation, music and humour she reveals the conditions under which this fantasy was cultivated and how she came to a confrontation with HER reality at a later stage in life. This play celebrates youth and womanhood and South Africanism in the most unexpected ways and forges a unique celebration of the rainbow nation through one individual’s story.

March 16 at 19h45: Meet Bro Six-Two Winner of the Best Performer Award, as well as the Audience Favourite Award at this year's Musho Festival, this is a hard-hitting play that gives insight into the high rate of unemployment in South Africa. An energetic, intense and intimate physical performance it is written and directed by Samson M. Mlambo, and performed by Wiseman Mncube. Mentored by Themi Venturas.

"The play makes the point that people who are unemployed will look to criminal means to earn a living. With the issue so prevalent in our everyday lives Bro Six-Two seeks to educate us into the whys and wherefores of the crime phenomena." Gisele Turner.

March 17 at 16h00: Les Pigeons Winner of the Best Original Script Award at this year's Musho Festival, this physical theatre piece takes a startling look into the underground world of ornithological communism, from within the minds of two in-patients. Wit and excellent comic timing characterise this interrogation into the uselessness of military interventions in times of change. Fresh from performances in Johannesburg, it is created and performed by Ryan Mayne and Tristan Jacobs.

March 17 at 17h45: Colour Me In TheatreGroup Heart proudly presents a new comedy/drama production by Grant Jacobs about a couple caught up in a colourful catastrophe: Colour Me In explores relationship dynamics, interracial relationships and what actually lies beneath the surface of these seemingly comic arguments that frequently come up in between couples in this day and age.

Lindy is a young-up-and-coming business woman. She’s taken the liberty of arranging a couples counselling session for her and husband-to-be, the not-convinced Simon. The couple arrive at what looks like a yoga class for two but soon dissolves from deep breathing to a shoe-throwing, screaming match. They go through painful confrontation, deliberately digging up dirt on each other and playing the blame-game until they simultaneously run into a wall.

“Is this a race thing?” Simon asks shyly. “No ... Is this a race thing?” Lindy asks questioningly. Where do you stand with interracial relationships? Funnily enough, Simon and Lindy aren’t sure either. Join them as they go from ridiculous arguments which you may find all too familiar, to the core of what may destroy their relationship.

Starring one of Durban’s freshest talents, Caitlin Kilburn, who will be remembered for her unforgettable award-winning performance as Aldonza in Man of La Mancha. The show also stars Standard Bank Ovation Award winner Grant Jacobs, best known for his award-winning show PaperBoy! which has travelled South Africa and beyond. Colour Me In will be directed by Dutch director Denise Lukkenaer (Amsterdam), who was seen earlier this year at the Musho! Festival.

March 17 at 19h30: Big Boys Don't Dance. This is the headlining show. Ash Searle So You Think You Can Dance and brother Bradley Footloose twirl their way through this adventure of far-out farce and foolishness. Caught between braai tongs and tutus, these Pretoria boytjies challenge the cliché of the ‘male dancer’. It is an award-winning comedy play that takes the audience on a wild journey of stereotypical male behaviour and extraordinary, highly entertaining dance routines. This incongruous recipe makes for a unique and fantastic experience that the entire family will enjoy. Big Boys Don’t Dance won a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2010. According to the Cue newspaper, the show is a South African version of The Hangover meets Flashdance with all the technical perfection of a Broadway musical. Directed by Vanessa Harris and performed by Bradley Searle and Ash Searle.

The Festival runs on March 16 and 17 in the Hexagon Theatre, on the campus of UKZN, Pietermaritzburg. Tickets R50 per show available at the door. Enquiries to the Hexagon on 033 260 5537, or email