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Saturday, March 29, 2014


(Nomvula Mbokazi, Xoliswa Ngema & Thulani Mngadi. Pic: Val Adamson)

Well-directed drama that deals with abuse, hatred and vengeance. (Review by Caroline Smart)

As the play opens, we see Emily (Xoliswa Ngema) entering in a state of tension and agonised weeping, looking for comfort in her favourite music, a cigarette, and a hidden bottle of alcohol.

Soon her daughter Liza (Nomvula Mbokazi) arrives. She’s sulky and unco-operative about the dinner her mother has set out so carefully but softens when she gives Emily her birthday present.

It turns out that it’s not only Emily’s birthday but that of her husband and it is also their wedding anniversary. Liza wants none of this and we soon discover that she hates him. Emily is eventually forced to sympathise and admit that they have both suffered serious abuse from him.

The drama moves into dangerous waters when the father, Nelson (Thulani Mngandi) arrives unseen and overhears mother and daughter sharing their opinions of him. From then on, it’s a full-on battle with Nelson holding all the cards … as well as the firearm.

Last Supper is written by Ntando Mhlongo. His script is a powerful one. It deals with abuse of women, deeply-lodged anger, and Nelson’s need to inflict on others the pain he experienced as a child which has soured his whole life. This is regardless of the fact that his target has made an abject apology. For him, the only answer is vengeance.

Under the skilful direction of Themba Luthuli, the performers hold their audience riveted throughout.

Xoliswa Ngema gives the character of Emily a sense of innate dignity throughout, desperately protecting her beloved daughter. Nomvula Mbokazi has some impressive scenes alternating from fury to whimpering terror.

While they are all first-rate in their roles, it is Thulani Mngandi who gives a standout performance. From the moment he enters, the atmosphere crackles with tension. This is a difficult role which could easily dip into a shouting match but he holds it all together with sure control while allowing the mercurial moods and occasional relaxed moments of roguish charm their full value.

Last Supper is the kind of production we are beginning to see at Stable Theatre. Tightly and effectively written, skilfully directed and professionally performed.

I also hope that we will see more of Themba Luthuli’s work. This is a man who has much experience in the performing arts and it shows in this production. If you like your drama searing and edgy, don’t miss this!

Presented by Ebukhosini Productions in association with Stable Theatre, Last Supper runs for just over an hour without interval and has three more performances: tomorrow (Saturday March 29) at 14h00 and 18h00 and (Sunday March 30) at 15h00. Tickets R40 available at the door or booked through Computicket on 0861 915 8000 at Shoprite Checkers outlets, or online at  – Caroline Smart