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Wednesday, August 27, 2014


(A spectacular moment from the production)
(Pic by Val Adamson)

Exhilarating programme of dance commemorating South Africa’s democracy. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Forming part of the Playhouse Company’s South African Women’s Arts Festival, From Then ‘Til Now offers an exhilarating programme of dance commemorating the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy.

The production is conceived and choreographed by Mark Hawkins working in collaboration with the members of the Playhouse Dance Residency, now known as KZN Dance Production.

Hawkins’ extensive experience in dance and musical theatre stands him in good stead to chart this historic national journey which features superb lighting design by Willem Disbergen.

The dance work skilfully charts the road to freedom, with many images of Nelson Mandela reminding us of the extraordinary person that he was. Clever reminders of Robben Island, Mandela jiving, and the universal right to have an identity document were handled with subtlety.

My special favourite was a scene which saw a huge number of shoes busily being laid out on the stage – all colours, all styles – both male and female. At first I thought the shoes were making a circle but then it turned into more of an “S”. The next image on the screen was the world famous aerial photograph of the snaking queues of hundreds of people waiting to vote for the first time.

Fine performances come from every single member of the company: Nkanyiso Kunene, Pavishen Paideya, Thobeka (TK) Quvane, Leagan Peffer, Rachel Abrahams, Sandile Mkhize, Kirsty Ndawo, Simone Mann, Julia Hosmer, Monde Marafana and Gabriel Masango. The Playhouse Company can be justly proud of this excellent ensemble.

Costume designer is Rachel Abrahams who has made strong statements with black and white costumes referring to racial discrimination moving on to the vibrant mix of styles and fashions representative of our mix of cultures. Jahn Beukes’ effective musical landscape, which features vocalist Lani Pieters, also moves through the rich musical styles of the nation.

From its first breathtaking moment when the stage is revealed to its last jubilant leap, this production is stimulating and dramatic. Filled with magical moments and some that are achingly beautiful, it is sure to appeal to one and all, whether you are a lover or dance or not.

There are performances tonight (Wednesday) at 18h00 and tomorrow (Thursday) at 19h30.
in the Playhouse Drama. Tickets R85 and booking is at Computicket.. – Caroline Smart