Musho fest success

2010-01-21 00:00

DESPITE being condensed into a weekend, the annual Musho Festival of One and Two Hander Theatre at the Catalina Theatre in Durban proved to be a big success.

The Performing Arts Network of South Africa (Panza) KZN said audience attendance was substantially higher than in previous years and the event also attracted a number of first timers.

Festival director Emma Durden, said the intensity of a short festival had possibly encouraged more ­patrons to see multiple shows and the new format bodes well for the future, especially in the light of reduced arts funding.

Normally run over 10 days at two venues in Durban, this year’s Musho was held on a reduced scale as none of the traditional funders was able to offer support, with the exception of Pentravel which sponsored Gaetan Schmid’s excellent one-man show, Rumpsteak.

The festival’s headline show was an astonishing piece of physical theatre and mime about a frenetic French restaurant.

Using a soundtrack of cooking noises, doors opening and even a cow, Schmid portrays a host of characters, including the head chef, a barman and a drunken restaurant staffer. It was one of the funniest and most ­innovative shows I’ve seen in a long time and even the few opening-night glitches failed to dampen the magic.

Rumpsteak was one of seven productions staged over the three-day festival, which focuses on the art of the performer and excellence in ­storytelling, staging and entertainment.

As has become tradition, audiences gave feedback on each of the shows via voting forms, and at the end of the festival the 2010 Musho Audience Award went to Senzo Mthethwa for his self-titled story about a young Zulu boy growing up with an Indian family in Reservoir Hills.

The work, which is based on real experiences, was jointly devised and written by Mthethwa, Kumseela Naidoo (who also directs) and Koobeshan Naidoo.

The runner-up prize went to Grant Jacobs (one half of the team who produce the fabulous Bob and Rob children’s shows), who was performing his first solo piece, My Name is Lucky, at the festival.

Directed by Jean van Elden, it is a compelling tale of a Durban street urchin with a heart of gold, who works as a car guard. Jacob’s play was also runner-up in the race for the festival’s other award, the Suliman Selection.

That award, which is presented by the Suliman family, who have seen every show at Musho in the past five years, went to Ewok for his show iainEWOKrobinson is LIVE!

• For detailed reviews of the shows staged at this year’s Musho festival visit www.mushofestival.co.za

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