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Tuesday, July 5, 2016


(Bongani Mbatha) 

(Reviews from the artSMart team currently in Grahamstown at the 2016 National Arts Festival)

Witty one-liners, quirky characters, dialogue that is fresh and an intriguing storyline (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy)

Sweetie Darling, written and directed by Clinton Marius and performed by Bongani Mbatha is one of three productions at the National Arts Festival produced by Copydog Productions. Nestling in the Scout Hall, this one-man show is premised on one man’s quest to win the heart of his Sweetie darling, Nosipho, who sings in the Church Choir. The suggestive set depicts that of a park, as this is where Jacob (the main character) awaits the arrival of Nosipho, for the picnic.

The writing and directing is well thought-out and clever, as we are entertained by witty one-liners, quirky characters, dialogue that is fresh and an intriguing storyline. Marius intentionally and thought-provokingly leaves the ending open to interpretation, as we see Jacob, waiting for Nosipho to arrive, the Romantic in me chooses to believe that all of Jacob’s efforts are rewarded with the Love that he seeks.

Jacob and his sister were raised by their Gogo (gran) after their parents were killed in a taxi crash. Jacob finds himself questioning his faith after the tragic incident and now finds his way back to the church, via the choir, to be near Nosipho. Clinton Marius does well to use a table cloth, in various ways, to help Mbatha become numerous characters.

Bongani Mbatha plays the perfect hopeless modern day romantic, trying to find love using old-fashioned charm and wooing. He is a diverse actor who is able to easily slip in and out of several characters (my favourite being his homosexual hairdresser) and his singing ability. Mbatha has great comic timing and does very well to invent characters that are hysterical. He finds depth in characters like: Back Pocket, the rival love interest; Gogo; Mr Wang, his boss in the Chinese Shop and the choirmaster (to name a few). Although the ending is left open, Mbatha’s performance wills you to believe that it will be a happy one. An entertaining piece of theatre!

Sweetie Darling has three more performances in the Scout Hall: July 6 at 14h00, July 7 at 18h00 and July 9 at 16h00.  - Verne Rowin Munsamy

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