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Saturday, April 6, 2013


Show featuring talented and skilled cast highlights the quality of the creative and performance talent available in Durban. (Review by Keith Millar)

Long Journey – The Musical offers it all. Great music, high-energy dance, moments of comedy, drama and poignancy and, most of all, a very talented and skilled cast.

The production is currently on at the Stable Theatre in Durban. It is the story of a group of men who leave the wide open spaces of their rural homelands and travel to the city to seek employment on the mines. They meet all sorts of streetwise people along the way who take advantage of their inexperience. This includes city slickers who mock them and call them “farm boys”, fast-taking informal traders and prostitutes who leave them goggle eyed. At the mine they live in a noisy and overcrowded hostel and have to work in harsh and claustrophobic conditions underground.

Despite the subject matter, the story focuses on the positive, and carries a message of optimism and hope for the future. Told in a succession of comedy and drama of sketches there are many exciting song and dance routines. The music varies from traditional to blues and gospel and features some very impressive Isicathamiya. Included in the dance sequences is everything from contemporary to tapsula and gumboot dancing

I found the sketch which, with a combination of gumboot dancing and mime, depicts the rigours of working underground particularly innovative and entertaining.

The cast are excellent to the man (they play the few female roles as well). Their energy and enthusiasm is to be admired and they all turn in fine performances.

Of particular note is Thabani Mahlobo who has an extraordinary voice. It is just a great pity that his radio microphone was giving trouble and at times his voice was inaudible.

Backing the actors is a very accomplished live band comprising of two keyboards, guitar bass and drums.

Long Journey – The Musical is a home grown product and a very good one at that. It highlights the quality of the creative and performance talent available in Durban. For this reason alone it is a great pity that it has to play to an audience of under 50 people. The Stable Theatre is a charming venue and is serving a very important role in staging productions such as this. Both the theatre and this production are worthy of the better support.

Long Journey –The Musical was written and is directed by Zeph Nzama. It has been pared down from the version seen at The Playhouse last year in preparation for its appearance at the National Arts festival in Grahamstown in June. The production is presented by Gcugcwa Productions and is supported by The KZN Department of Arts and Culture, and the eThekwini Municipality.

The final show takes place tomorrow (April 7) at 18h00. Tickets R50 booked through Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or online at Tickets are also available at the door. For block bookings of 10 or more, contact Bongamusa Nzama on 073 644 1882. – Keith Millar