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Wednesday, December 3, 2014


(Nhlakanipho Manqele & Samkelisiwe Hlophe)

Delightful and often hilarious madcap piece is a perfect choice for youngsters over the festive season. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Skungpoomery is written by English writer, actor, director and comedian Kenneth Campbell who is known for his cutting edge and zany work. And “zany” is certainly the word that fits Skungpoomery. For at start, its title is way off the wall and, secondly, it has its own language entirely. “Skungpoomery” is simply the art of thinking up a new word, deciding what it means, then doing it.

Produced by the Playhouse Company and directed by Ralph Lawson, this delightful and often hilarious madcap piece is a perfect choice for youngsters over the festive season. The show is aimed at children between 6 and 13 but today’s audience averaged around five years old and they loved every minute, squealing and laughing at the characters’ antics.

Basically, it’s the story of Faz and Twoo who couldn’t be more different if they tried. Faz is highly articulate and inventive while Twoo follows in his own sweet time. They are dressed in clown-like outfits and are later tagged The Pyjama Gang by the police when they start creating havoc in the town. As Faz, Zenzelisphesihle “Sparky” Xulu impresses with his impeccable diction and modulation and Adam Doré brings an endearing charm to the dof Twoo.

Faz is on a mission. He has decided that he is not happy with the world. Everything is wrong. He starts pontificating about words and decides that the vocabulary needs to be reinvented. Words must come through the back gums – not from the front of the mouth. Therefore “snickerslop” is far more interesting than ”coffee” as is “shankplanker” a whole lot better than “table”. “Bunk jam jarmaring” means smearing jam on your pyjamas and then “bunking” (bouncing) into the street.

At the start of the play, we meet the long-suffering Mrs Wibble, delightfully played by Samkelisiwe Hlophe, who is not-so-patiently trying to get her son suitably prepared for his day at work. He has chosen a career as a policeman which couldn’t be further from his abilities. Constable Wibble has a tendency to petulance and is much under his mother’s thumb. It was a delight to see Nhlakanipho Manqele showing such a strong grasp of comedy. The scene where Wibble and Twoo have an argument over sandwiches and a discussion about knees was utterly hilarious.

Into the crazy equation come Mr and Mrs Humbotton, ably played by Michael Gritten and Krystle Temmerman, the latter going so far as to tie her husband up so she could join Faz and Twoo in their word games.

Representing the police force are Belinda Henwood as the stylish Lady Inspector Snatchem, Yateen Dhayaram as the perplexed Sergeant Stuff and Bongani Mbatha as Constable Bunkett who tries valiantly to make sense of it all.

Lawson has done a splendid job of pulling off this delightful high energy theatre piece. Good luck to parents whose children see the show and then proceed to invent their own vocabulary! Not to mention exploring their skills at prannocking (dancing silly)!

Skungpoomery runs in the Playhouse Loft until December 21 at 12h00 and 14h00. Tickets R100 booked at Computicket. The children each receive an innovative gift after the show which should keep them occupied for many an hour.

For information on group bookings for any of the festive season shows contact the Playhouse on 031 369 9405. – Caroline Smart