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Saturday, July 26, 2014


(Warrick Frank, Maeshni Naicker & Melanie Kisten
with Desiree Kisten & Ruben Naidoo in front)

Satchu Annamalai’s new play premieres to an appreciative audience. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Opening with the foot-tapping Goolgoola Jive from Satchu Annamalai’s CD Chubhang Legacy 1, his new show House of Nuts premiered last night to an appreciative audience at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya prior to its nationwide tour.

The stage is set in the lounge of Harry Venketsamy who has just taken early retirement and is agog to travel the world. Tables are laden with food and drink for a retirement party with family and friends. His feisty sister-in-law Selvie arrives to find her sister Manie still setting up with no-one else in sight and it’s way past the appointed time. Selvie is a woman who speaks her mind and she takes every opportunity to harangue her sister on the shortcomings of her alcohol-loving husband.

Then Manie’s friend Rebecca pitches up – all sexily dressed and full of youthful energy – which irritates Selvie even more. Her temper rises another few notches when Harry wanders in with his friend Frank, both of whom are definitely the worse for wear.

What follows is an amusing and entertaining telling of the next 24 hours in the lives of these people with Selvie’s biting tongue even being muffled for a certain amount of the time!

Satchu Annamalai, who has many years of experience in the performing arts in all its facets, has created his play to focus on human personalities, “that even in the comedy the frailty of human nature is revealed”. As the plot evolves, the scenario moves through blackmail, murder threats, sexual arousal, jealousy, much humour ... and Selvie at her most cantankerous!

As Selvie, Maeshni Naicker puts in her usual fine and dependable performance. A true comedy performer, she attracts most of the laughs. Warrick Frank also puts in a strong performance as Frank and I was delighted to see that his tall solid frame has the capacity to move in dance.

Good to see Ruben Naidoo back on stage again. This actor has many years of experience and he made the most of the character of Harry. He has some delightful scenes with Warrick Frank, including when they discuss a book dealing with how to handle a hangover and, another, as Frank reveals to his friend his problem with dating women.

Melanie Kisten and her sister, Desiree Kisten, in the roles of Manie and Rebecca, brought their energies and strong dancing talents to the fore.

My biggest problem came from the sound – the levels were too high and there was too much distortion. Hopefully, this is sorted before tonight’s performance. The production itself needs developing and tightening up as there are several illogical elements but I feel sure these will be ironed out under Annamalai’s critical eye.

House of Nuts has one more performance tonight (July 26) at 19h30 in the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino before it embarks on a nationwide tour. Tickets R100 booked through Computicket. Copies of the Chubhang Legacy 1 CD are available at the ticket office outside the theatre. For further information call 083 289 0548 or 082 632 6388. – Caroline Smart