national Arts Festival Banner

Friday, October 26, 2018


(Anele Nene. Pic by Caroline Smart)

Don’t miss Nene’s brilliant performance in this one-man show! (Review by Caroline Smart)

Durban theatre personality Menzi Mkhwane is one of KZN’s brightest stars. A highly talented scriptwriter, actor and director, he continues to impress with his achievements.

Mkhwane is the founder, CEO and Artistic Director of his own theatre company which is to be properly launched to the Durban community early next year.

This project deserves every ounce of support from audiences, sponsors and funders.

The creation of the company is in response to the dearth of theatre, particularly drama, in Durban at the moment. At the opening of his latest production The Shoe Man, he shared his ambitious five-year plan which includes producing a play a month with 90% focusing on comedy and 10% on pure drama. At the end of the year, he will present a musical. He also aims to do masterclasses and hold regular auditions.

He intends to be highly active on social media connecting with audiences to find out their response to his productions and what they would like to see in the future.

If the first production of this planned programme is anything to go by, what promises to follow will be of a very high quality.

Written by Samson Mlambo and seen at the PANSA Musho!, Hilton Arts Festival and the Festival of Fame in Johannesburg, the award-winning The Shoe Man is about a young man faced with the challenges of trying to maintain his education at a multi-racial school. He was once told “Keep shining your shoes and one day they will give you a brighter future”. This becomes his mantra and he develops shoe-shining talents which he eventually uses to raise funds for school fees.

Anele Nene, who recently toured to Johannesburg with Mkhwane when they performed Pockets Of Knowledge, takes the role of the 18 year-old Sax who is passionate in his determination to get back into the classroom and write his exams.

Mlambo’s script is excellent and Nene uses every facet of his versatility to do credit to the writing. There is much humour and Nene’s comic timing is spot-on, as are his movement skills. There are moments of huge frustration when he complains that he has to walk 10 kilometres to school as his community is still waiting for the government to build a school in the area.

Using his vocal skills and working on a set with the minimum of props, Nene takes on numerous characters from crusty teachers to a serious headmaster and doddery old men to flouncing schoolgirls. He also proves that he has a very strong voice when he needs to use it! Don’t miss Nene’s brilliant performance in this one-man show!

The Shoe Man is directed by Menzi Mkhwane and runs at the Bat Centre dance studio until October 27, 2018, then continues its run from November 1 to 3. Entrance R100. The show starts at 19h00 and is suitable for all ages. There will be a matinee performance on November 1 at 14h00.

The Bat Centre is in the Small Crafts Harbour. Take the road off the Esplanade over the railway line as if going to the yacht clubs, turn left and continue until the security point. There is safe parking not far from the Centre. – Caroline Smart