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Saturday, November 7, 2015


(Writer & director, Edmund Mhlongo)

Edmund Mhlongo pays respect to Johnny Makhathini in a show that should be supported. (Review by Sifiso Simamane)

The Path to Freedom – or Johnny Makhathini the Musical - is a KCAP production written and directed by eThekwini Living Legend, Edmund Mhlongo, who is known for playing with his poetic words and creating stirring dialogues. The show has one more performance in the Playhouse Drama this evening.

The theatre was full to capacity on opening night and the audience was blown away by the opening song and dance sequence of Mkhonto Wesizwe militancy.

Nompilo Maphumulo, who is a star in one of Sabc 1 telenovelas, u Zalo, plays Johnny Makhathini's wife. She was well received by the audience and did not disappoint, playing her role well and with full confidence

Even though the story was serious, Menzi Mdletshe who played Shuku brought an element of comedy into it and each appearance brought laughter and applause from the audience. His excellent performance was natural and it was no surprise that he got a standing ovation at the end.

Sphehlise Cele as the main character was always confident and clear and showed that he has grown considerably as an actor. He handled his role so well that even Mrs Valerie Makhathini (Johnny Makhathini’s widow), who was among the guests, went on stage at the end of the show and hugged him and his entire family. She was in tears and very touched by what she had seen.

It was also refreshing to see a young cast from Ndwedwe making their first appearance on stage.

Zulu traditional dancers Omama Besigekle did well, it was also good to see another eThekwini Living Legend, Phuzekhemisi Mnyandu – the legend of maskandi music - among the cast and being well received by the audience.

The show suffered from the unexpected passing of their pianist, Mathonsi Lindani who died the day before opening. He was replaced by Seni Ndlovu who only had a few hours’ rehearsal with the cast. I believe he did his best under the circumstances and I'm sure he will improve as the show progresses.

This production - performed to a bare stage – was certainly a complete contrast to the productions normally presented by Edmund Mhlongo. It seemed as if the focus was on development and certainly the young cast members had the splendid opportunity of working in a beautiful theatre such as the Playhouse Drama.

Overall, the entire cast gave their all and this is a show that should be supported.

The production has one more performance tonight (November 7) at 19h00 in the Playhouse Drama. Tickets R80. Booking through Sindisiwe Xaba–Cele on 031 504 6970 or 076 111 0742. - Sifiso Simamane