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Saturday, May 18, 2019


(Pic by Val Adamson)

The whole cast worked excellently together like a well-oiled-machine. They showed commitment and grace and performed beyond professionalism. (Review by Philisiwe Twijnstra)

The Young Performers Project presents Curtain Up, a musical revue.

Curtain up begins with a group of driven young performers sneaking into a dark derelict building that had been nesting pigeons. The story unfolds through songs and synchronised choreography. They find out that the building used be an old theatre and it was due to be sold and turned into a Casino. Curtain Up had emotional overtones and a predominant need to belong somewhere. A sense of wanting a home to sing and dance. Every song had its own underlying theme and emotional turnover. Excellent duets and solos from the cast with minimal costume changing. 

Besides this, I knew most of the songs that were sang; some from cabaret musicals playlists, contemporary popular songs and alternative music and a tad bit of South African traditional music. Which I personally think was such a great touch. However, I related more to the yearning, the passion, the talent and dedication which every actor had shown, as an ensemble. I didn’t know what to expect when I first entered in the auditorium. The word “amateur” has a tendency of throwing people off because the word itself insinuates a “less than”. Curtain Up proved that every pre-conceived notion about a young performer: that they were lazy or less clued up— was an old tale.

Curtain Up is an interesting musical revue written by Charon Williams Ros and directed by Jaco Van Rensburg. I applaud the director for his vision and making every actor/ singer/ dancer on that stage find their light and shine. Everyone had moment to be great. The balance of talent and inclusiveness was emotionally engaging. Curtain Up is a relevant story precisely to Durban artists.

This musical reminded me when Stable Theatre and Catalina Theatre were closed down. A sense of belonging was taken away. Durban artists were forced to think outside the black box which drove everyone to a state of solitude and seclusion.

However, in Curtain Up the young performers were faced with a similar dilemma of needing a theatre to rehearse. Instead of trickling to their own corners, they came together as a community to find a new home to sing and dance. Curtain Up is close to home, a very necessary story with impeccable performances from Anele Nojiyeza, Alex Van Schalkwyk, Marianthe Panas, Sihle Manonyane, Keeley Crocker and Tino Kazi. Well-known performers Mthokozisi Zulu and Sbongiseni Shezi held the cast together with their astounding and fresh comical moments.

(Leah Mari)

The whole cast worked excellently together like a well-oiled-machine. They showed commitment and grace and performed beyond professionalism. A special mention of Lesedi Goge with his perfect comic timing, strong presence from Scebi Mpaza and Kyran Taylor. I would not be doing justice if I did not share my personal shout out to Leah Mari, Oqalile Tshetshe, Nelisiwe Zimba, Rachel Devine, Sonwabile Mnengela, William Young, Benjamin Rodriguez and the rest of the cast. You shone in your light and kept the story going.

I just realised that every actor certainly started by singing and dancing in a group, before they realised they wanted to tell stories and have a purpose. I urge every actor who has forgotten why they do theatre and why they call themselves actors to go and watch Curtain Up. Surely it was a reminder for me.

The show runs until June 2, 2019, with performances at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN campus from Wednesdays to Saturdays at 18h00 and Sundays at 14h00. There are also early shows on Saturdays at 14h00. Tickets R90. Booking is through Computicket outlets at Shoprite Checkers, by phone 0861 915 8000 or online at 2019. - Philisiwe Twijnstra