Show gets down to basics at Catalina Theatre

2007-12-11 00:00

Amidst all the glitz and glamour of most of the shows on offer for the festive season, De Compleat Hstry of Dbn. Without the Boring Bits at the Catalina Theatre gets down to basics. Directed and written by Themi Venturas with musical accompaniment by Tixi Nxumalo on the guitar, the show takes audiences on a mildly chaotic ride through a highly amusing, irreverant look at the history of the city of Durban.

The colour scheme is black and white amusingly complemented by Ewok’s clever graphics on the screened images translated to the backdrop as well as Hugo le Roux and Jannie Engelbrecht’s over-the- top cartoon-like costumes. The cast members are dressed in basic black and character changes are created by cleverly designed stick-on aprons, jackets, dresses and traditional ethnic outfits.

This is definitely an ensemble piece with stage veterans Hamish Kyd, Frank Graham and Mpume Mthombeni coping with numerous character changes, working alongside comparative newcomers Mayuri Naidu and Daisy Spencer. Kajal Bagwandeen replaced Mayuri on December 10, Daisy will share the role with Holly Boulind and Themi will replace Frank after Christmas. So, if you go to see the show three times before December 30, you’ll see three different dynamics.

Hamish Kyd generates the most laughs as the “bruin ou” using the forthright and distinctive jargon of his community to best advantage. His scene with Mayuri in the 1860 advent of the Indian settlers was very funny. Frank Graham’s command of accents and comedy style lends much humour to the many characters he plays. Mpume stoutly supports the Zulu culture, while Mayrui and Daisy add to the fun.

Too much focus is spent on the early years — and in particular a sequence on Victorian melodrama — which means that it veritably gallops through the last 100 odd years. However, it’s a fun concept and I’d like to see it developed further.

If you need a break from the Christmas razzle and dazzle, this is the answer.

How to book

De Compleat Hstry of Dbn. Without the Boring Bits is suitable for the whole family and runs until December 30. Performances Tuesday to Saturday at 8 pm (Sundays at 6 pm). For further information and to book, phone 031 305 6889.

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