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Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Ngcebo Cele &Snelisiwe Hadebe in Sugar Daddies. Pic by Val Adamson

Sugar Daddies was one of the four productions featured by The Playhouse Company in its fourth Community Arts Festival (CAF) which ran in the Playhouse Loft from April 11 to 20.

Forming the second programme of the festival, Sugar Daddies will be going on to tour to schools in KZN.

The play looks head-on at the social issue widely prevalent today of older, often married, men with financial means having very young girlfriends. These girls often seek ways to achieve a better lifestyle without considering the consequences and implications of their actions. The irresponsible behaviour of these older men (“sugar daddies”) brings ruin to the lives of their own families and those of the young women they engage with.

This work is directed by Edmund Mhlongo with a cast that includes Ngcebo Cele, Heather Gielink, Annalisa Gxabu, Vumani Khumalo, Nompilo Maphumulu, Phumlani Ngubane, Sandile Nxumalo and Snelisiwe Radebe.

“Obviously I can’t give a full review this production as I was involved in its development,” says Caroline Smart, “but I commend all involved for handling this complex and alarmingly-prevalent issue with strong performances, a clear understanding and a fair dollop of humour.

Honours undoubtedly go to Sne Radebe as the young girl who gets caught up in her friend’s irresponsible behaviour. As the friend, Nompilo Maphumulo gave the strong performance we have come to expect from her as she copes with the mood swings that the character requires.

Handling the vitally important lines of how many men view sex with young girls, Ngcobo Cele was notably smooth as the gangster with Sandile Nxumalo a delight as his bumbling sidekick. Annalisa Gxabu gave a calming interpretation as the mother and Phumlani Ngubane was good as the harassed school counsellor. Lending weight and a seeming sense of responsibility as the pastor was Vumani Khumalo.

Sugar Daddies formed part of Programme 2 of the festival. The other three productions were Talking Spirits, Umlabalaba and Zion (Programme 1). (See separate articles)