national Arts Festival Banner

Sunday, January 17, 2016


 (Bongani Mbatha. Pic by Val Adamson)
Enchanting comedy one-hander. (Review by Keith Millar)

After the success of Clinton Marius’ delightful, award winning, production B!*ch Stole My Doek, his next offering was looked forward to with eager anticipation. Well - he certainly has not disappointed with the enchanting comedy one-hander, Sweetie Darling, which premiered at the Musho! Festival at the Catalina Theatre on Friday.

Bringing Marius’ clever, witty and insightful script to life was a very impressive Bongani Mbatha. He creates the lovable and vulnerable character, Jacob, whose ambition in life is to impress Nosipho, the girl of his dreams, and to get her to fall in love with him.

Jacob lost his parents at a young age and has had to be the breadwinner for his family. Now, at the age of 27 he is ready to settle down and get married. The only problem is that he has never even had a girlfriend.

Then he meets Nosipho who sings in the church choir. It is love at first sight – for him, anyway. He does everything he can to impress her and to get her to notice him, but without much luck. Finally, he finds the courage to invite her to go on a picnic with him.

When we meet him, he busy setting up the picnic in the local park. As he goes about this, he relates the story of his life and the circumstances that have brought him to this point. In the process he introduces a host of colourful characters who are part of the story.

We meet his mischievous younger sister, Miriam; his Gogo; the choirmaster and pastor from the church, Nosipho herself and his rival for the girl’s affections, intriguingly named Back Pocket.

Eventually everything is ready for the picnic. But the question is – will Nosipho arrive?

Bongani Mbatha is a charming and affable actor. He has lovely comedy timing and paces his performance very well. His portrayal of all the periphery characters is accurate, funny and perceptive.

Clinton Marius’ script is very funny. While most of the humour is situational, there are many topical quips which are quite hilarious. His understanding of the characteristics and nature of a culture other than his own is remarkable. Marius’s deft hand was also apparent as the director of the production.

This enjoyable production is one not to be missed.  The good news is that there are plans afoot to stage it at the Seabrooke’s Theatre shortly.- Keith Millar

The Musho! Festival 2016 is presented by PANSA with support from The KZN Performing Arts Trust, Pro-Helvetia and The Swiss Development Council, The KZN Department of Arts and Culture, The Daily News, Catalina Theatre and Twist Theatre Development Projects. For more information call the PANSA office on 031 201 4750 or email: