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Friday, July 22, 2016


(Jayshree Parasuramen)

An important piece of theatre. (Review by Keith Millar)

It is important for any country that all aspects of its history are recorded so that future generations can come to a better understanding of the events that shaped the milieu they live in.

This is even more important when the events contributed to substantial changes to the social and political wellbeing of the country.

Through the ages, theatre has played a major role in informing people of these notable moments in history and the role played by many unsung heroes.

To this end Lenny, which is currently on at the Playhouse in Durban, is an important piece of theatre. It tells the story of the late Lenny Naidu, an ANC activist and member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, who gave his life in the struggle for freedom in South Africa. He and several others, while returning from exile in Swaziland, were ambushed and killed by the Third Force which was based at Vlakplaas, near Pretoria.

Lenny is written and produced by Jayshree Parasuramen. She also plays Seshni, a rather mysterious homeless person who is the storyteller in the production.

The title character is played by Rahul Brijnath, an experienced actor who does a good job in capturing the commitment, passion and strength of the social activist. Yashik Singh as Richard and Savy Ramsamy as Naidu’s mother are also impressive. Others in the cast are Warrick Frank, Yateen Dayaram, Kerolin Govender and Nqobile Mthembu.

The production is directed by Themi Venturas.

The very effective music soundtrack used in the production was composed by Burton Naidoo. Along with rather bleak lighting, it creates a menacing and disconcerting atmosphere for the piece.

Lenny is a somewhat wordy production and possibly suffers from being staged on the large and imposing stage of the Playhouse Drama. The set is a little disappointing. Made from scaffolding and fencing, it seems fairly arbitrary and doesn’t add anything to the production.

Lenny runs in the Playhouse Drama until July 31 with performances for schools on July 27 and 28 at 11h00. Tickets R120 for the public performances booked through Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or online at

Alternatively, call the Playhouse Box Office on 031 369 9540 or 031 369 9596 (office hours). Tickets for the school performances are R30 per learner. To secure school bookings, or for further information, call 072 926 0692, 083 610 9931 or 031 826 5585 (o/h) – Keith Millar