Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Theatre: Undermined

By Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and Luke Brown
KBT Productions/ Here Manje
Adapted and directed by Tara Notcutt
Songs and choreography by Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi
Performed by Stefan Erasmus, Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and Luke Brown
Teatro 2 until February 19


Young Madlebe has reached manhood in his village of Hluvuko in Mozambique. It’s a bone dry, harsh place, and his warrior father, Nkosi, only manages to sustain the family because of his hunting skills.
Madlebe is determined to earn money to help support his family and to marry his sweetheart, Yemala. For Madlebe, and many thousands of other Mozambicans, this means South Africa, and for many of them, that means the mines.
The production, directed by Tara Notcutt – who has become as driving a force at the Perth Fringe (she has brought four quality shows to this year’s festival) as she is in independent theatre in South Africa – accentuates the strength and energy of its hero. Its episodic, comic strip form briskly propels the narrative and provides plenty of action and humour along the way.

Stefan Erasmus, Luke Brown and Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi
The three performers, who each play Madlebe at different times in his story, combine wonderfully in the stirring songs and dances created by Mkhwanazi through which, along with some inventive physical theatre, most of the story is told.
They represent the different ethnicities of the new South Africa, with all its dark legacy and vast human potential. Its theatre, in the hands of Notcutt and others of like mind and talent, is a window into that world, so like ours yet so distinct, in its past and uncertain future, from us.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Undermined runs until Feb 19, and Notcutt’s other remaining Fringe production, Last Rounds, until Feb 21. Fellow South Africans Jemma Kahn and Glen Biderman Pam’s The Epicene Butcher and Amateur Hour both run until Feb 22. I strongly recommend them all.               

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