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Monday, March 14, 2016


Delightfully entertaining comedy with a clever and perceptive script. (Review by Keith Millar)

In the often precarious world of the performing arts in Durban it is really encouraging news when a new production company joins the scene. Blank Canvas Productions is a new, young group, in every sense of the words. The company was only founded last year.

The three active partners are James Jooste (writer/producer), who is 19 years old, Ndili Stamper (director/theatre & cast manager) and Nkanyiso Yeni (finances/producer), who are both18 years old and are still at school in matric.

All three are enthusiastic and ambitious young men who have big ideas and plans for the future of their production company. Going on their first full stage production It’s Not Your Fault which is currently on at the Seabrooke’s Theatre at Durban High School, they are not without a fair bit of talent as well.

It’s Not Your Fault is a delightfully entertaining comedy about a family, written by James Jooste. His script is clever and perceptive, and is jam-packed with laughs. The characters are all rather madcap, but they are well-rounded and recognisable.

Danna and Steve Turner, played by Elzette Smith and Conan Richard Course, are about to get divorced. They call a family meeting to inform their two children, Alice (Michaela Hardstone), who is 17 years old and more than a bit of  drama queen, and Nick (Casey Milledge) a calmer 18 year-old, the news. Also at the meeting is Alice’s quirky and endearing friend Tiffany, skilfully and charmingly played by Rio Notra. Other than being a shoulder to cry on for Alice, the saucy Tiffany spends much of her time trying to seduce Nick.

The children don’t take the news very well and embark on a frantic and chaotic mission to save their parents’ marriage. This includes calling in their dragon of a grandmother, Veronica (Jill Sysum). Their efforts are increasingly hilarious and hysterical and soon things reach a stage of near anarchy.

All the cast members put in spirited, wholehearted and energetic performances, with perhaps Notra being the stand-out. At times they could pick up their cues a little faster and at other times they could up the pace a bit - as well as play with a little more light and shade. But there is nothing wrong with this production that can’t be fixed and as an introduction to Blank Canvas Productions, it is a very enjoyable and a most successful effort.

It is a great pity that this production is not receiving the support it deserves at the door. Many grumble that the performing arts in our city is struggling, but when an honest endeavour such as this production is made by a new young company it receives scant support from those same grumblers.

Blank Canvas’ slogan is “The canvas is empty and the possibilities are endless.” With the right support they may yet surprise and delight us with what they achieve.

It's Not Your Fault! runs at Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS until March 19. The shows start at 19h00. Tickets at R100 (R80 students) are available from Quicket, Facebook,  or at the door. – Keith Millar