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Saturday, May 21, 2016


(Ralph Lawson as Alan Paton in “A Voice I Cannot Silence”)

(Review by Latoya Newman, courtesy of Tonight)

The Playhouse Company’s New Stages Season saw the venue buzzing with activity at the weekend with the staging of two highly-awaited productions.

Actor Ralph Lawson, director Greg Homann and producer Sue Clarence (director of the Hilton Arts Festival) are the winning team who brought to the stage A Voice I Cannot Silence.

The production recently scooped three coveted Naledi Theatre Awards. 

Lawson, who portrays controversial author and poet, Alan Paton, in the play, took the accolade for Best Lead Performance in a Play (Male), while Menzi Mkhwane won The Brett Golden Award for Best Newcomer/Breakthrough Award for the same production. Writers Homann and Lawson also won the award for Best New South African Script.

A Voice I Cannot Silence examines the life of Paton through his own words, stories, poems and autobiographies. The play examines weighty and often controversial issues such as Paton’s position in the Liberal Party, his years as principal of the Diepkloof Reformatory, his belief in and struggle for human rights, and the complexities of his personal relationships.

The team deserve kudos for bringing Paton’s story to life on stage. Lawson in the lead role gave an incredible performance.
Clare Mortimer as Paton’s second wife, Anne, performed with gusto and heart, and Menzi Mkhwane as Sponono, a former reformatory inmate, is passionate in his delivery. A well-earned standing ovation.

Sean Bovim of Bovim Ballet had Durbanites eagerly awaiting his dance work Romeo’s Kiss, which also saw dancers from Bovim Ballet and The Playhouse Dance Residency on stage together.

Described as “MTV-culture meets So You Think You Can Dance”, the production saw an eclectic mix of modern and classical come together on stage in dance and music, including popular covers of The Beatles’ music.

All of this is delivered with top-notch dance performances which had the audience applauding after every scene and offering and extended ovation after the show. Complementing the production are stunning haute couture costumes by Craig Port (male dancers), Malcolm Klûk & CGDT (female dancers).

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Romeo’s Kiss sees characters from opposite ends of the social scale come together.

With Bovim’s choreography presenting a touch of classism fused with hip hop, jazz and contemporary styles, there’s something for everyone in this beautifully weaved together work.

The entire cast deserve acknowledgment for their outstanding and engaging performances which saw this show sold out for its entire run during New Stages! – Latoya Newman