national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Engaging romp contains pertinent messages. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Created and performed by Verne Rowin Munsamy and Sashin Kandhai, No Contest is among the one-off productions featured in this year’s anniversary Musho! Festival.

The problem with one-offs is that no sooner are you “on” - ie on stage – than you’re off, and that’s it. There’s no time to allow the show to settle in, become familiar with audience response and iron out technical glitches. Also, a major storm erupted in the late afternoon which threw the tight Musho! Festival schedule awry with people arriving late. So, all credit to Munsamy and Kandhai for handling their show with professionalism.

Using audiovisual images to fill out the action with popular Lotus FM personality Varshan Sookun on film acting as the host, No Contest is set at the finals of a reality game show called South Africa Should Have Talent. Two young men - Dharshan and Direshan - from Chatsworth want to build a rehabilitation centre in the community if they win. Their challenge for the finals is to present three dance routines.

In between these sections, the two actors don various guises as the camera crew go out into the communities to pick up feedback on the show, especially from those who are fans of the Chatsworth boys.

This sees Munsamy and Kandhai playing a considerable range of characters and using different accents from ageing Indian women and KFC kitchen workers to bitchy beauty stars and township youths from Grahamstown. Munsamy’s scripts always feature a thought-provoking or social undertone. Containing some clever and satirical lines, No Contest is an engaging romp that contains pertinent messages.

While there is no doubt about Kandhai’s considerable dance skills, it was interesting to see his development on the acting front and his capacity for comedy. There’s even a cameo performance on film from Shona Johnson.

This production has much potential and I wish the actors well in continuing its development.

Musho! runs until Sunday evening (January 18) offering a variety of one-off performances. For the full Musho! Festival programme visit

Tickets R50. (R30 students, OAP and PANSA members) booked via Computicket or by phoning 031 837 5999.

The Musho! Festival is presented by PANSA with support from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund as well as Ethekwini Municipality, the KZN Department of Arts and Culture, The Daily News, BASA, the Catalina Theatre and The Twist Theatre Development Projects.  – Caroline Smart