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Monday, August 19, 2013


(Snegugu Mavundla as Baloo, Michaela Ogle as Bagheera and Shadene Hayden as Mowgli)

Fresh, bright and exciting production. (Review by Keith Millar)

I was privileged to be invited to attend last night’s supper theatre performance of The Jungle Book at the Holy Family College. What a wonderful experience it turned out to be. The production was fresh, bright and exciting – and it absolutely charmed and captivated its audience.

The musical version of The Jungle Book is based on the Disney animated movie of the same title, which in turn was inspired by stories of Rudyard Kipling. It tells the story of a young boy (Mowgli) and the animals he meets in the jungle.

It was a bold choice by the Arts Department of the Holy Family College to present The Jungle Book as their annual production. It is a big and complex work which has a huge cast and plenty of action. It requires innovative choreography, a versatile set, talented singers, a multitude of costumes and imaginative sound and lighting. What is more, the school needed to incorporate pupils from both their primary and high school phases in the production and contend with the requirements of various tests and exams while rehearsing.

In the circumstances, it was a tall order to come up with a production of high quality which would be both entertaining and engaging as well as serving an educational and fun experience for the learners.

The drama team from the college under the leadership of director Farla Ribbonaar certainly succeeded on all counts. They produced a work that all who were involved can be truly proud of.

Without doubt, the costumes stole the show. Designed and created by Edox Gerard they were beautifully conceived, very imaginative and of a standard acceptable on a professional stage.

The lead role of Mowgli was played by Shadene Hayden. She gave a good sustained performance with just the right mixture of sass and warmth.

However, the standout performance was by matric pupil Rafe Green as Kaa the snake. All slithery and slippery evilness, he was delightfully bad. Maybe we saw a star of the future. Also of note was the performance of Kwanele Tenza as the jazzy King Louie, the leader of the monkey troupe. The impish troupe was exactly like the groups of vervet monkeys which move through our gardens with all their tumbling about and looking for mischief.

Brendon Mkhize as the stuffy Sandhurst trained leader of the Elephants was beautifully pompous and cast some doubts on the saying that “elephants never forget". Michaela Ogle was wonderful as Bagheera as was Snegugu Mavudla as Baloo and Naledi Makhetha as Shere Khan.

I was also enchanted by the chorus. Singing and dancing and singing with joy and abandon, their eyes shining as brightly as their costumes. I wish I could mention every cast member but they certainly all played an important part in a very successful production.

Thank you to the Holy Family College community for your welcoming and friendly hospitality. I could not help but to leave the campus with a big smile on my face. – Keith Millar