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Saturday, October 9, 2021


This was impressive to watch. It is hard to sit through the first five minutes though as you will struggle to figure out what is unfolding but once you understand the style, the cast takes you on a very high energy driven journey filled with tons of wit! (Review by Menzi Mkhwane)

I had the pleasure of sitting inside the Seabrooke’s theatre once again to watch another stage production after seeing ADHD by Aaron Mcilroy a few weeks ago in the very same space.

Double You is written by Musa Ntuli who in his own right an accomplished theatre practitioner who has both trained local artists and toured his work even as far as down to the National Arts Festival.

Othembele Nomgca is a DUT graduate just like Musa Ntuli who has decided to take on the piece and as I sat in to watch the opening scene I could tell immediately that the task was not an easy one.

Double You is not a straightforward piece. It is very fast paced and designed to make the audience think while it slaps the viewer with images, ideas and questions that ask us as a society to question issues we are fearful to challenge publicly.

As the theatre slowly filled up; I was delighted to see that Nomgca had not only the courage to direct his first piece professionally but that it was received with the enthusiasm and interest of an audience that was eager to see what he had to offer as a creative.

There were only a few seats empty and on stage there were five beer crates and, upstage centre, a lectern.

As the audience settles in, there is what sounds like an isiXhosa traditional song being sung beautifully backstage by the cast and as the stage manager makes the cellphone announcement; stage lights come up as one by one actors walk on stage.

The first actor Brian Khumalo comes in with his right hand up as one would in court and quotes a verse from the bible, next comes Sihle Chiliza with the same movement tone and verse, then comes Xaba and Mandisa Mngoma and finally Vuyo Biyela and lastly the judge played by Othembele Nomgca who completes the assembly.

The scene is set in the court and the sitting figures played by the rest of the cast are questioning the judge but if you listening carefully, the questions run deeper than what is spoken…

Immediately as the first scene reaches its climax, there is a quick shift into a township scene of a girl (Xaba) who lives with her granny played by Mngoma. She (Xaba) sneaks out of the house to meet her boyfriend but is trapped by three men who rape her.

Nomgca demonstrates the rape by standing over Xaba and chewing an apple and in the middle of this powerful montage, a song is sung by the cast and the scene is held up to the audience to ask the question why women are being violated the way they are being violated in South Africa by their own black men.

Xaba performs a harrowing monologue in that moment which I wish could have been performed a lot slower as her tone was strong and unwavering.

Almost as swiftly as the show started, the scene dissolves and the cast is back in court.

The ensemble that Nomgca has chosen is very solid, fluid and tight, with standout performances from Biyela and Xaba. The first actor (Biyela) has a very explosive energy as the character WHY who is constantly questioning everything the Judge says.

Biyela is one strong performer who never seems to hold back anything inside as he belts through every moment. His energy seems to bounce off the walls and his power carries some of the scenes that are very well put-together.

The moments are very fast and flashy and reveal Nomgca’s love for film and cutting into scenes and dissolving out. I loved the control exhibited by Mngoma when she was not in the court and often I enjoyed her interpretation of those characters more than when she was in court.

I had a wonderful time watching Chiliza who plays (WHERE). He created comical moments that were set up to have double meanings perhaps connecting to the title of the show Double You...  I wish I could have seen him take on more prominent roles in the play.

Khumalo handled his character (WHAT) in court with an ease that truly impressed me and whenever he took off his glasses, there were visible shifts in his body showing that he is an actor who has taken the time to plan his transformations and find something new in each character. I enjoyed watching him thoroughly!

The chorus moments in the show were held together well and I salute Nomgca for having such a clarity of arrangement and space and dimensional focus as the eyes of the production the stage was well used and balanced; and there wasn’t a moment where I felt that the cast didn’t know where they were going.

This was impressive to watch. It is hard to sit through the first five minutes though as you will struggle to figure out what is unfolding but once you understand the style, the cast takes you on a very high energy driven journey filled with tons of wit!

But somehow in the end you are not only impressed by the script which is piercing and edgy but you are challenged to listen and watch closely. And I will say this audience did this so well. The cast is unwavering and Nomgca handled the text which is erupting with riddles, questions, and philosophical quotes with an intelligence that left me saluting his artistry!

I highly recommend that audiences go and see this play. It has a final performance at Seabrooke’s Theatre today (October 9) and is a must see. Tickets are sold at the door or you can simply call 068 296 8183. – Menzi Mkhwane