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Friday, July 31, 2015


(Sboniso Msimango, Mfundiseni Mdwalane & Nqobile Mthembu)

Tightly directed and extremely well performed. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Drummer Lindani Phumlomo and guitarist Zwelithini Buthelezi perform a dramatic opening to Catalina’s current production, The Working Man, which gives us a taste of what is to come and as the play progresses, they provide a sensitive soundscape to the action.

Tightly directed by Brandon Moulder and extremely well performed by Nqobile Mthembu, Sboniso Msimango and Mfundiseni Ndwalane, The Working Man features a strong text by Sboniso Msimango as well as contemporary movement and gumboot and traditional tribal dance.

The story deals with Sipho (Sboniso Msimango), a young man growing up in the mining community. All he wants to do is dance but his father (Mfundiseni Ndwalane) insists that he works on the mines. Torn between her duty to her husband and the love of her son, Sipho’s mother (Nqobile Mthembu) battles to handle the traditional male control of her quick-tempered husband and the new world of a son who has no wish to have five wives. Or live in a community where one’s manhood is measured by what aggression he could produce.

Each member of the cast makes their roles their own – the characters are believable and very focused. Whether it is the mother’s heartache, the father’s aggression or the son’s undeniable artistic ability, you are drawn into their world and feel their pain.

This might sound as if the production is full of angst but there are some delightful scenes full of humour, such as one where Sipho has to translate the speech of the female boss to unsympathetic employees.

There is no set other than a couple of working blocks and the lighting is effective. Unfortunately, due to the first couple of rows of the audience being on the same level as the stage at Catalina, the light set at the back during some of the scenes blazes right into people’s eyes.

This hour-long production is well worth seeing.

A Wordplay Company production, The Working Man runs at the Catalina until August 9 with performances at 19h00 (Thursday to Saturday) and at 14h00 on Sunday. Tickets R80 (R50 students) available at Computicket outlets, on 0861 915 8000 or online at or at the door. – Caroline Smart