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Thursday, March 21, 2013


Highly ambitious project successfully charts the history of the school in music and dance. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Having been in Johannesburg for a few days, covering the Naledi Awards and the launch of Anne Power’s film, To The Power of Anne, I only managed to catch the last night of Voyages and Journeys: DCG 136 Years On.

I’m so glad I did. This is the latest Durban Girls College production and a highly ambitious one, at that. This year, DGC is 136 years old and the production team has pulled out all the stops to create a show of narration, music, song and dance that spans the College’s history and pays strong tribute to its founders. The talented cast and hard-working crew totals about 60.

Director Wendy Watson has gathered stories of the past from old girls’ memories and the school archives and has worked with the girls of 2013 to update the dialogue to where they “are” today. Choreography and costume designs are by Kenlynn Sutherland.

Musical Director Ronel Perks and her 12 musicians are placed at the back of the stage. The musical arrangements have been produced by Jeff Judge. Greg King has designed the set and sound and lighting design are in the capable professional hands of Darkhorse Productions and Michael Broderick respectively.

While the production itself has been a challenging process, the staging has been taken to another level. The first two-thirds of the hall have been divided to make way for a large ramp in the middle which offers more space for the performers and an added dramatic capacity for entrances and exits.

One of the major highlights of the evening was a violin solo from Hristo Kardjiev, former leader of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, who performed The Woman Who Waved Goodbye with dancer Veronique Ellis. This item could easily be marketed as a professional corporate piece.

A screen allows the audience to share old photographs from the early days of the school when it was situated in Russell Street, before it moved to Musgrave Road in 1906. Entering through this screen are the girls of College Past – Elizabeth Manduell, Tayla Scott and Sarah Gillitt – dressed in Victorian outfits. Having landed on Durban’s beach, they feel at a loss in a foreign country, until the girls of College Present – Nicole Hlengwa, Aphiwe Gwaxu and Blaise Draper – come onto the scene.

They swop stories and insights about their lives over the 136 years that have passed since the founding of the school. College Past provides fascinating historical information – some of it highly amusing, such as the fact that early College girls were only allowed to applaud with two fingers onto the other palm and weren’t allowed to perm their hair, let alone dye it!

College Present introduces College Past into the vocabulary and fashions of young people today as well as the fascinating world of technology! This generates a series of music and dance items covering the war years to the latest hits such as Skyfall.

The six lead performers acquit themselves well in this fast-flowing and energetic celebration of DGC history.

DGC is situated in Musgrave Road. More information from Jacci Lewis on 031 268 7239 or or visit - Caroline Smart