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Thursday, November 3, 2022


(Above and below: Cara Roberts in action!)

All kudos to Theatresmiths (Michael Broderick and company) and the principal and school board of Northlands Primary School for creating the new Bridge Theatre and launching it with a great production. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Wednesday (November 2, 2022) was a night to remember. I attended the preview of The King of Broken Things and the event was highly memorable. It represented the opening of a brand-new theatre space and a marvellous performance, beautifully scripted and performed, which makes The King of Broken Things a MUST!

First – the venue. The brand-new Bridge Theatre, situated at the Northlands Primary School in Durban North, is a quaint 100-seater raked theatre. The principal and school board have earmarked this space to be developed into a professional venue to hire - particularly for spoken word theatre; live original music; cabarets; recitals and comedy. A desperately needed space.

Enter Michael Taylor Broderick, one of South Africa’s luminaries in theatre, who founded a production company called Theatresmiths. Some top KZN theatre names are involved and their aim is to change the world through the magic of theatre.

Broderick wrote and directed The King of Broken Things and chose the brilliant Cara Roberts to interpret the role of a young boy (the “King”) who is the victim of bullying but is determined to find his own way of overcoming the negativity around him. He won’t accept himself - or his life or any of the vast number of fascinating props he is surrounded with – as being broken. It’s all to do with fixing things. An example is a bird cage he has. The bird that was inside has now flown but he is determined to get rid of the negativity so he hangs the cage upside down so all the "bad stuff" falls out.

This prop turns out to be a pivotal part of the finale. To say more would be to spoil the incredible surprise. To quote Barry Meehan’s review when he saw the show at the 2018 Hilton Arts Festival: “The ending of this piece by Michael Taylor-Broderick is sheer theatrical genius.”

Cara Roberts performance is simply stunning. I saw the production some years ago and she is still relaying the same high-speed energy and vulnerability. You just love her.

The King of Broken Things marks the “soft” launch of the venue which will be further upgraded and enhanced over the next few months. It will certainly fulfil its purpose of building a theatre-going audience, particularly in the Durban North area, but also to provide an opportunity for learners to get first-hand experience of live arts, by becoming involved in the productions being staged there.

The King of Broken Things has just returned from The Golden Dolphin International Puppet Festival, 2022 – which is held every three years in Bulgaria to popularise the achievement of Bulgarian puppet art and to showcase puppet shows from around the globe. The King of Broken Things was the only South African production invited to the festival. It has also received a Gold Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival.

Apart from bullying, the play delves into subjects such as prejudice; gratuitous waste; absent fathers and the futility and consequences of war. But don’t expect any grim scenes – it’s all handled with humour and high energy, enhanced by Brandon Bunyan’s atmospheric lighting.

The show runs from November 4 to 12, 2022.

Tickets R130 (R110 concessions) booked through Webtickets.

Performances take place on November 4, 10 and 11 at 19h00

November 5 and 6 and 12 at 14h30


Guarded on-site parking. Refreshments will be on sale

Northlands Primary School is situated at 20 Gleneagles Drive, Durban North. – Caroline Smart