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Monday, July 13, 2015


(Yanga Mkonto & Sipho Mahlatshana. Photo: CuePix/Amanda Horsfield)

(Reviews from the artSMart team at the 2015 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown)

Compelling and often-hilarious play looks at a series of gay relationships. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Presented by Artscape, Chomi is a compelling and often-hilarious play that looks at a series of relationships between six gay men. Four are black and two are white.

The play opens on a hilarious note as Percy (Siya Sikawuti) is in full preparation for his wedding to Mandla. As he adjusts the hems of the bright orange suits his attendants (Rudzami, Thabang and Sicelo) will be wearing, he reveals excitedly that he and Mandla have started the adoption process. Amid much amicable banter, they then move on to discuss whether the respective mothers will attend the wedding.

Then we start following Percy’s three friends on a personal basis and they all have their own issues. Rudzami (Anele Situlweni) is in a relationship with Adam but finds it’s too much of a commitment and breaks it off.  Sicelo (Yango Mkonto) loves his partner Mike who is drunk most of the time and fooling around with someone else. Thabang (Sipho Mahlatshana) maintains firmly that he’s not into relationships – he just wants the sex ... that is, until Kevin comes along.

Mandisi Sindo takes the roles of Mike and Mandla while Robert Haxton plays Adam and Kevin. Both doubles are well-handled.

Then things start to go horribly awry between the four friends. They are struck by tragedy and in the process, old issues come to the fore. Strong words and home truths fly and the friendship is in danger of breaking up. However, in the end the love and friendship they share holds them together.

Chomi is written by Pfarelo Nemakonde and directed by Motlatji Ditodi and the script involves much humour – and not just of a sexual kind! Alfred Rietmann’s effective set with its transparent corridors allows scenes to roll smoothly into each other.

This is a tightly-knit cast with excellent performances from each and every one, especially Yanga Mkonto and Sipho Mahlatshana. There is an age restriction of 18 as the dialogue tends to be highly explicit and movements leave nothing to the imagination! It is to the director’s credit that the provocative production retains a high level of credibility and the scenes of vulnerability are handled with sensitivity. – Caroline Smart

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