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Sunday, April 3, 2022


(Above: Kaylee McIlroy as Zara & Roshanda Lewis as Amy in “Call Me a Fool”. Pic by Val Adamson)

There are no immediate plans to take this excellent production further but, with the current driving force capable of coming up with new plans at any moment, keep your eyes on artSMart!  (Review by Caroline Smart)

The matching of people of highly creative minds, passion about theatre and supporting new talent, led to the creation of the Cabaret and Beyond Festival, supported by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

It all started in 2020 when Durban singer/songwriter and performer, Roland Perold was asked by Durban musician Debbi Mari if he could talk to her daughter Leah about musical theatre writing.

Stuck at home during Covid-19 Lockdown, Perold came up with the idea of planning a showcase. He connected with Leah and things developed into Stories 2020, a collection of original songs written by musical theatre composers from South Africa.

I went to see the production on December 13 with my friend, Ismail Mahomed, who is the director of the Centre for Creative Arts. He was extremely impressed and before long, had suggested to Perold that they develop the idea into a Cabaret and Beyond Festival (Cabfest), to join the CCA’s other festivals: JOMBA!, Time of the Writer, Poetry Africa and the Durban International Film Festival. The aim is to encourage new writers to work in the area of musical theatre.

The next step was to invite those who created work for Stories 2020 to create a new chamber musical piece (i.e. music composed for small ensembles of instrumentalists) which would form the culmination of the inaugural Cabaret and Beyond festival.

(Left: Sam Hlophe plays the mother Nomzamo in “La Familiar”. Pic by Val Adamson)

The result is an excellent show of two totally different pieces: Call Me a Fool written by Leah Mari and La Familia written by Ntlantla Swana (music) and Khanyisa Sigwanda (book) who have been privileged to have had dramaturgical support from well-known director Janice Honeyman.

These pieces have been produced by the CCA in association with the Mandela Bay Theatre Complex. This is why the production premiered in Gqeberha before coming to Durban to the Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS, a perfect intimate venue for this event.

The pieces both reflect excellent direction – Steven Stead for Call Me A Fool and Philisiwe Twijnstra for La Familia. Performances are also at top level, with actors confidently handling a challenging wide range of emotions, portraying characters that are completely believable. Both script and music are highly demanding for both shows but handled beautifully.


Call Me A Fool

Call Me A Fool features Roshanda Lewis as Amy and Kaylee McIlroy as Zara. MD is Evan Roberts. The set is all-white – floors, curtains and costumes – which reflect the theme of falling in love too quickly. One feels there seems to be a very close relationship between them and this is confirmed when Zara leans forward and kisses Amy passionately on the mouth.

Zara is the dominant one, pleading with Amy to come with her to Cape Town where she has been chosen to join a women’s soccer team. Amy is reluctant but eventually succumbs.

However, when Zara breaks her leg, the situation is reversed with Amy now the dominant member. Things head for breakdown when Amy learns that Zara has never told her mother that she and Amy have had a sexual relationship for a year.


(Right: Kaylee McIlroy as Sihle’s friend Lisa & Minenhle Sikhosana as Sihle. Pic by Val Adamson)

La Familia

La Familia had a serious setback when one of the actors left the production after the Gqeberha run which meant that major changes had to be installed at the last minute to turn the piece into a three-hander. There was no sign of confusion and the piece moved along at a good space. So, huge congratulations to the director and cast: Minenhle Sikhosana as Sihle; Sam Hlophe as her mother Nomzamo and Kaylee McIlroy as Sihle’s friend Lisa. MD: Roland Perold.

The setting for this one was a complete opposite to the one before – hanging saucepans surround the set, and there is a brightly coloured tablecloth and floor tiles.

We meet Sihle just as she has received a letter from an academy in New York wishing her luck in the finals. Mother arrives and now there’s a problem as she refuses to let Sihle go abroad as she wants her to be part of her shop.

She walks out in disgust just as Lisa arrives. This is a completely different character for Kaylee from Zara in Call Me A Fool. She’s bouncy, pert and cheeky and has no hesitation in plying Sihle with alcohol so by the time Mother comes back, Sihle is totally drunk. Maternal rage sets in and she attacks her daughter – this called for a powerful performance.

Both Sam Hlophe and Minenhle Sikhosana have beautiful voices and handled the numbers with much sensitivity.


There is no set designer as such. Steven and Philisiwe each realised their own vision for the production in terms of set and costume ideas. The sets were built by Greg King. Lighting is by Tina le Roux and sound by Jason Bird

There are no immediate plans to take this particular production further but, with the current driving force capable of coming up with new plans at any moment, keep your eyes on artSMart!

For more information contact Roland Perold on email - Caroline Smart