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Wednesday, June 19, 2013


(Tiwe Mbele and Philani Muthwa. Pic by Val Adamson)

Fun and interactive Durban production to appear in the Family Theatre category of the 2013 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Three years ago, Durban writer and director Caroline Smart approached Friends of Music with a project designed to kickstart Stable Theatre’s schools programmes as part of its revitalisation process. Friends of Music in turn applied to the KwaZulu-Natal Performing Arts Trust which granted funding for Smart to write the script.

Further sponsorship was acquired from Ilanga Newspaper to workshop the project to performance level, translate the script into isiZulu and present it for 25 performances to schools. Close on 2,500 young learners filled the Stable Theatre auditorium with their delighted laughter and rhythmic interaction during the schools’ season.

Rhythm Dudes is a fun inter-active show with the underlying message that strong team spirit is created through working together in harmony. Another message woven into the fun and nonsense is the importance of respecting of family, colleagues, teachers and workplaces.

While the show is aimed at 10 to 14 year-olds, Rhythm Dudes has proved that it offers energised and popular entertainment that appeals to all ages.

A further milestone for Rhythm Dudes is that the English version featuring Tiwe Mbele and Philani Muthwa will perform at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown this coming July. For the young actors, this will be an exhilarated and much-anticipated experience:

“I've always wanted to go to Grahamstown for the shows, but now that I'll be performing makes me more excited,” says Philani Muthwa, a former DUT drama student. “I heard about the festival while still at University and since then I have wanted to go and view the activities that take place there. Yes, I am nervous, and that's good because I think nerves mean you will do a great performance. I don't know much about the festival, but all I heard were thrilling news, and it made me more curious. My expectations are to have more than a good time, experience, make connections (for more opportunities), to learn as much as I can, and to nail all my performances.”

Rhythm Dudes is Tiwe Mbele’s first experience as an actor: “I’m very excited but also a little nervous because it will be the first time I will be away from KwaZulu-Natal as well as from my family and also going to South Africa’s biggest arts festival,” he says. “I am also worried about the cold but our mama Caroline Smart will be there, so no worries!”

Performances in Grahamstown take place at Memory Hall as follows: July 2 at 14h00 (Free performance – part of the Fringe Free programme); July 3 at 16h00;
July 4 at 14h00;July 5 at 18h30;July 6 at 12h00, and July 7 at 16h00

Directed and written by Caroline Smart and featuring Philani Muthwa and Tiwe Mbele, Rhythm Dudes is 60 minutes long, open to all ages and performed in English. Tickets (except for the free performance on July 2) are R45 (R35 students and block price) Booking is at Computicket.

Review comment: I had a ball. In no time at all, everyone - including this tone deaf reviewer - was clicking and clapping and stomping along and setting up rhythms which would have made any seasoned musician proud. After an enjoyable morning, I can proudly say “I am a rhythm dude!” (Keith Millar for artSMart)

More information from Stable Theatre on 031 309 2513 or Caroline Smart on 082 892 3959.