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Friday, November 7, 2014


(Zenzo Ngqobe & Presley Chweneyagae with Don Mosenye in the background. Pic by Val Adamson)

Fine performances from four actors in a highly-energised production. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Featuring part of the Playhouse Company's special November season to celebrate 20 Years of Democracy in South Africa, Silent Voice offers a powerful – and often brutal – tale of four gangsters who have just pulled off a heist and are on the run with their booty.

The aim of this anniversary season is to place emphasis on “high artistic quality, widespread acclaim in the performing arts industry and relevance to the theme of the country's new democracy.”

Aubrey Sekhabi's Silent Voice looks at the mindset of criminals and the psychology of crime in modern-day South Africa. Nominated for four Naledi Awards from its seasons in Johannesburg and Cape Town, it comes straight from its success at the 2014 Edinburgh Assembly Fringe Festival.

The cast of this highly energised production features Presley Chweneyagae, Zenzo Ngqobe, Boitumelo “Chuck” Shisana and Don Mosenye. All four actors put in fine performances, having honed their characters to perfection.

Chweneyagae is the main protagonist. Happily quoting from the bible, he can just as happily kill at will. His character is also the one that creates the most humour.

Ngqobe is the calmer and more logical member of the group. However, he is frantically driven by time as he is on parole and needs to be home by six.

Shisana is the calmest of them all, stating that his aim is to see this job over safely so that he can see his son again.

Mosenye provides the brawn. Tall and solidly built, he also takes on the role of the farmer in a clever guise.

Special mention must be made of percussionist Motshepe Kgawane who provided perfect moods for the various scenes.

Wilhelm Disbergen’s lighting design is very powerful and his set design is highly effective. The stage is strewn with tyres, metal cages, a metal drum and a tall sign saying “Somewhere South”: This same sign becomes a shower to good effect.  The first ten minutes are in darkness so we feel at one with the gangsters as they make their escape under cover of the night. This escape involves much racing round the stage or running on the spot either at full tilt or in slow motion.

Sekhabi's script has a brutal element and there is strong language. However, there is an equal amount of humour. There is also an eloquent scene where two characters talk of their families.

Silent Voice runs in the Playhouse Loft until November 9. Booking is at Computicket. – Caroline Smart