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Saturday, October 1, 2022


Move over, Eskom!! If you were looking for extra energy, you would have found it at Westville Boys High School in their current production of Once on This Island (Jnr) performed by arrangement with DALRO (Pty Ltd).

The tremendous energy, exuberance and commitment from the students from Westville Boys and Westville Girls high schools is a standard example of director Steven Stead’s capacity to pull every ounce of talent from his eagerly-responsive young cast. Add musical direction by Roland Perold and you’ve got a powerful explosion of song and dance.

Once on This Island (Jnr) is a musical written by Tony Award-winning song writing team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Anastasia, Seussical, and Ragtime). It is a highly original and theatrical Caribbean adaptation of the popular fairy tale, The Little Mermaid.

The musical is set on a Caribbean island which has just been hit by a major tropical storm and many huts have been washed away. A little peasant girl, Ti Moune, survives the flood by landing up in a tree. She is saved by an elderly couple who take her in. Later in Ti Moune’s life, she becomes the rescuer when she rescues Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of the island, and eventually falls in love with him.

Sadly, the relationship is torn apart by Daniel’s father and Ti Moune is barred from his palatial home. Daniel eventually marries the woman of his parents’ choice.

However, there are stronger forces at play. The gods who preside over the island make a bet with one another over which is stronger, love or death, the stakes being Ti Moune's life.

(Right: Nkanyezi Kunene)

Playing Ti Moune, is Nkanyezi Kunene who has a powerful voice and gives a fine performance. As the young Ti Moune, Anele Hlongwane is equally impressive. Both are excellent and have the audience in their grasp from the start.

Playing the gods – in beautiful costumes – are Amahle Tembe, Owethu Gwambe, Senzo Zondi and Luvo Mthethwa who command the stage whenever they appear.

Strong performances also come from Jethro Milne (Daniel) and Keryn Scott (Daniel’s bride) as well as from Amahle Senamile Ngcobo, Kamvelihle Mathe, Keegan Stevenson and Simamukele Mkhwanazi.

There are some splendidly dramatic moments as well as some lovely tender scenes.

The professional production team includes Tina le Roux (lighting design) and Brandon Bunyan (sound); Peter Court (specialist prop creation), Shanthi Naidoo (costumière).

There is one more performance – tomorrow afternoon (Sunday, October 2) at 17h00 in the Roy Cousins Theatre at Westville Boys’ High School. The duration of the performance is approximately 65 minutes.

Tickets from R60 to R100 available via Webticket - – Caroline Smart