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Friday, March 1, 2013


(Musa Ntuli & Nompilo Maphumulu)

Full marks to Wiseman Mncube on a tightly-directed and well-performed drama. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Wiseman Mncube is going places … and going there fast! This young actor already has a number of major achievements to his credit, A 2011 Drama graduate of Durban University of Technology, he has acquired three major awards since leaving DUT. These have all been to do with his excellent performance in Samson Mlambo’s one-hander, Meet Bra 62. He was voted Best Newcomer at last year’s Mercury Durban Theatre Awards and Best Actor at Durban’s 2012 Musho Festival where he also won the Standing Ovation Award.

Last year, he appeared in Horn of Sorrow at the Hilton Arts Festival and in Musa Hlatshwayo’s dance piece, Zulu no Qwabe, at The Playhouse.

Turning his energies to writing and directing, his first play – the dramatic two-hander, The Weeping Candle is how the past can come back to haunt those who have committed wrong, ie “do unto others as you would want them to do to you”, says Mncube. The play scooped the Best Production and Best Script Awards at Khaya Multi-Art Centre in KwaMashu during the isiGcawu Festival in November 2012.

That’s one heck of an overall achievement over a period of a single year!

Featuring the undeniable talents of Nompilo Maphumulu and Musa Ntuli, The Weeping Candle (a very apt title) opened tonight at Stable Theatre for an all-too-short run of three performances and this production is well worth seeing. If Mncube continues at his current rate, he’ll soon move beyond the province to become one of South Africa’s most exciting young theatre practitioners.

The Weeping Candle is set in a shebeen. It’s after closing time but a young man (Musa Ntuli) barges in, insisting that he has a couple of  beers after a hectic sports game. The feisty shebeen queen (Nompilo Maphumulu) responds to his personality, especially as she has a vague recollection that she knows him. He seems to have a never-ending list of questions but all delivered with a friendly charm. She allows him to stay for a while but is not prepared for what follows.

Nompilo Maphumulu and Musa Ntuli put in excellent performances. Tightly directed by Mncube, they handle the complex twists and turns of the script with controlled energy and professionalism. Also in the cast is Philani Muthwa in an all-too-short cameo role.

The Weeping Candle has two more performances: March 2 at 18h00 and March 3 at 14h00. The show’s duration is 45 minutes. Tickets R45 booked through Computicket 0861 915 8000 or online at The Weeping Candle is not for people under 16 years. If you don’t catch the show in Durban, you will be able to see it on the Fringe at the 2013 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Stable Theatre gratefully acknowledges support from Ethekwini Municipality and the KZN Department of Arts & Culture. – Caroline Smart