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Saturday, May 20, 2023



(Above: Lyle Buxton, Roshanda Lewis, Samantha Landers & Emkay Khanyile. Photo by Bash Siddiqi)

The overall feeling is one of hope and determination. Don’t miss it! Congratulations to all involved! I can’t wait for CAB Festival 2024!! (Review by Caroline Smart)

Last night (May 20, 2023), I was completely captivated by the programme of the 2nd Cabaret Festival which is running at the Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS in Durban until Sunday (May 21). Presented by The Centre for Creative Arts, these productions showcase new musical theatre.

As Dr Ismail Mahomed, the director of the Centre for Creative Arts, says: “The Cabaret and Beyond festival is the newest baby in the bouquet of festivals presented by the Centre for Creative Arts.” It’s a brilliant addition to the festival range of the CCA and is the brainchild of Durban-based composer and musical director Roland Perold.

In 2020, Perold produced an independent song cycle with input from half a dozen composers across South Africa. This has now extended to a considerable CAB mentorship programme by South African composers featuring original songs. From 93 applications, 20 composers were chosen from across the country last year and took part in a three-month writing programme. They met twice monthly via Zoom for online discussions and feedback around works in development. Alongside Perold was Lesedi Job, as dramatist, and Jaco Griessel, as specialist composer, leading the cohort through the process.

With the inimitable Steven Stead in the director’s seat and Evan Roberts as musical director, you know that the show will be professionally presented with excellent performances. The cast includes well-known Durban performers Lyle Buxton and Roshanda Lewis. Joining them are Emkay Khanyile who is based in Johannesburg and former Durbanite (now living in Cape Town) Samantha Landers, who came up to Durban especially to do the show.

The set is simple, painted black and unadorned with a raised rostrum with block divisions. The cast are also wearing black which means you can’t be distracted by fancy costumes and can concentrate on the subject matter of each song.

Perold says: “The difference with the CAB, in contrast to songs in other genres, is that we’re working in a dramatic artform. Music and lyrics serve the intention of the character or situation in a way that is gripping to an audience member, and this is why audiences have taken note and have returned for each new instalment”.

Every song you hear is new so audiences are experiencing them for the very first time. There’s a clever mix of humour, comedy, pain, anger, hopelessness or loss. The songs include a wide variety of subjects – many of them satirical such as Another Day in Mzanzi or desperate such as Make It Stop (loadshedding!). Another was the powerfully explosive Sing – as in “we shall sing again”, bearing a strong message of hope. A Demon Called Sue caused much hilarity about a priest who set out to exorcise a demon from a parishioner to discover that the demon had entered him!

The overall feeling is one of hope and determination. Don’t miss it! Congratulations to all involved! I can’t wait for CAB Festival 2024!!

There are only two more shows at Seabrooke’s Theatre at the Durban High School: this evening (May 20) at 19h00 and a Matinee performance tomorrow Sunday (May 21) at 14h00.

Tickets R150 with a pensioners’ discount available. All tickets sold through

The show runs for 65 minutes without an interval. – Caroline Smart