national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, June 8, 2013


(Pinkie Mtshali & Thulile Zama)

Pinkie Mtshali has a good 25 years in the professional theatre industry in Durban and further afield and her music styles range from operatic to African contemporary. Generously built with an equally expansive smile and sense of humour, she is the lead vocalist for the Durban Divas cabaret trio.

In an interesting move into the cabaret genre, she has teamed up with Thulile Zama from the popular female jazz ensemble, Heels Over Head. This creates a meeting of two styles from equally talented performers which has every potential to become very strong partnership.

Having a short run at Rhumbelow Theatre this weekend, Mtshali and Zama’s double bill programme offers the opportunity to see two of Durban’s strongest singing talents share their abilities in a programme which is engaging, highly amusing and enjoyable.

The double bill features two one-acters: Victoria Kay - The Township Diva and Big Gals Don't Cry.

Victoria Kay - The Township Diva sees Mtshali as Victoria Koekmoer. It tells the history of a young girl who was stage struck from the word go – a parallel to Mtshali’s own experience. Parents and friends warn her against going into the entertainment business but she goes ahead, anyway.

Some of the songs are original from Mtshali’s latest album, Now is the Time, alongside a random selection of numbers ranging from Somewhere over the Rainbow to an African collection – Mtshali dressed in splendid Zulu bling with colourful feathers – such as Mama Themba; The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Patapata. As she moves towards a jazz focus, she introduces her pianist, Mr Kit Kat (Quinton White). Last night, White had to step in at the last moment to do the voice-overs live because of a technical hitch.

After interval, Zama joins Mtshali in Big Gals Don't Cry, where two performers are preparing for their stage appearance (although this isn’t clear until later) and delight in the costumes available in the dressing room. They bemoan the lack of partnerships in their life. Mtshali has the self-confidence to make fun of her size wherever she can, especially when approaching a member of the audience who naturally appears nervous when she suggests that she sits on his lap! In response to the question as to what happened to one of her short boyfriends, her dry response is that she “sat on him by mistake”!

The two performers match each other well in energy and vocal range – Mtshali offering the more dramatic presentation, while Zama renders a cool jazz feel. Memorable numbers were I am Beautiful, Woman, Crazy, Fever, Vulindlela, Big Spender, Night and Day and It's Raining Men.

There are two more shows: tonight (Saturday, June 8) at 20h00 and on June 9 at 18h30. The venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner. Tickets R100 (less 25% pensioners and tables of eight or more). Take along food picnic baskets and braais will be available. There is limited secure parking and booking is essential. A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Theatre is situated in Cunningham Avenue off Bartle Road.

Booking is through Computicket or contact Roland on 031 205 7602 (h) or 082 499 8636, email or visit – Caroline Smart