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Sunday, January 6, 2019



Ayanda Ntanzi and Hlengiwe Mhlaba standouts from the six-voice ensemble. (Review by artSMart)

Directed by the acclaimed Ralph Lawson, The Playhouse Company’s annual Christmas Celebration concert which was seen in the Drama Theatre before Christmas was a production of two distinct halves.

The first half comprised traditional Christmas fare of carols and celebratory songs while after the interval it was a full-on, flat-out gospel music worship.

As there was no programme for the production, there was little information on the performers or their material for this half of the show. Even the comperes offered little, preferring to involve themselves in the euphoria taking place on stage.

The band which performed during this segment was apparently assembled by Music Producer Lindelani Mkhize from the best session musicians available. They were seriously good. Obviously skilled and accomplished musicians, they produced a tight, riveting sound.

(Hlengiwe Mhlaba)

Equally the singers, from the six-voice ensemble to the three soloists, were outstanding with Ayanda Ntanzi and Hlengiwe Mhlaba being the standouts.

The audience, by and large, loved this segment of the show, joining in with the worship by dancing, singing along and shouting out their praises.

Back to the first half. While this did not offer the variety of previous years, it did live up to the title of the production being a Christmas Celebration and produced a wide choice of well-loved carols and Christmas favourites.

(Wayne Mkhize)

Tenor Wayne Mkhize performed the wonderful Christmas song O Holy Night, while soprano Khumbuzile Dlamini impressed with Climb Every Mountain.

 The ever popular Tim Moloi belted out To Dream The Impossible Dream from The Man From La Mancha and Khanyo Maphumulo performed an interesting interpretation of Simon and Garfunkel’s A Bridge Over Troubled Waters. These two also joined together for a stirring rendition of To God Be the Glory.

(Tim Moloi)

Also on the programme was the acappela gospel group Avante and the Salvation Army Brass Band.

Backing all the singers was the KZNPO and the Playhouse Chorale. Along with the soloists they also performed well-loved Christmas music such as Joy To The World, We Three Kings, Guide Me O Thy Great Redeemer and O Come All Thee Faithful.

The sound mix during the show was a little up and down. Because there is no orchestra pit at the Drama Theatre, the KZNPO was placed right at the back of the rather deep stage. They were barely visible and their sound in the softer passages was lost. To overcome this, the orchestra was amplified, but this led to a rather disconcerting sound which was at times too loud.

For more information on Playhouse future productions for 2019 visit