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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Catch this spoof on Superman before it heads for Grahamstown! (Review by Caroline Smart)

2014 National Arts Festival supporters of the Actors Unemployed Company (AUC) are in for a treat when this innovative theatre company presents their latest offering, Super Mokoena, in Grahamstown in July.

Well-known for their work in shadow play and offbeat comedy, the award-winning AUC has taken the legend of Superman and transposed it to a South African context. As Krypton is about to explode, the father of our hero (who they have named Clark) decides to send him to earth where he will be safe. His wife is unhappy about this because her opinion of earth and its people is highly derogatory.

The baby Clark lands in a field outside Durban and he is taken in by the Mokoena family and raised as their own. With the baby is a message from his real father. Mr Mokoena accepts that this is no ordinary baby and tries to protect him as he grows up. However, Clark is a problem child at school, always fighting for the underdog. In adulthood, Clark impresses on his adopted father that he has realised he can help people who can’t help themselves.

Life goes on fairly normally and Clark gets a job on a newspaper as a reporter. Into the scenario comes one Lexington Shabalala the Third, a corrupt businessman whose sole aim in life is power and personal gain. In the process of a massive land buy, Shabalala has his sights set on an even more devastating process of destruction.

Can Super Mokoena save the day? He has the power. His only threat is exposure to kryptonite and Shabalala discovers this to devastating effect.

Clare Mortimer is the director with Bryan Hiles the designer. The play is written by Marc Kay who appears as Mr Mokoena, the newspaper editor and Lexington Shabalala’s delightfully dof assistant. Fellow AUC stalwart, Adam DorĂ©, moves easily from the understated Clark to the all-powerful Super Mokoena. Good to see newcomer to the group, Mtho Zulu, as Shabalala and more than holding his own with these two experienced actors.

The show is clever, zany and makes a statement of the corruption which is all too prevalent in South Africa today. The shadow play is well-handled and often very amusing.

My main problem was that the music background often overshadows the dialogue to the point where some of it is lost. It would benefit Seabrooke’s to reposition the speakers. If you sit in the first four rows on the end, you are right in the target zone!

You can catch this highly entertaining production before it goes to Grahamstown at Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS.

Super Mokoena runs until April 13 with performances from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 19h30 (Sundays at 15h00). Tickets R95 booked through Computicket or at the door. – Caroline Smart