Outstanding and deeply poignant

2012-11-15 00:00


Your Hand in My Pocket

Catalina Theatre, Wilson’s

Wharf, Durban


TWO of the province’s finest young actors — Caitlin Kilburn (Boesman and Lena, Man of La Mancha) and Clinton Small (Othello, Callum’s Will, Mein Soldat) — are bringing to life an award-winning piece of South African writing at the Catalina Theatre in Durban. But judging by the tiny house last Friday, you would never have guessed this was the case.

Craig Eisenstein was the winner of the national final of the Performing Arts Network of SA (Pansa)/National Lottery Distribution Fund Festival of Reading of New Writing earlier this year at the same venue.

I heard nothing but good reports about Your Hand in my Pocket, which is directed by William le Cordeur, director of theatre at Michaelhouse in Balgowan, and was read in July by Pietermaritzburg-based actors Ron Barbour and Avi Maistry, and Pietermaritzburg-born, Durban-based actress Kilburn.

In this staging, it’s Kilburn and Small who breathe life into this unusual love story.

Kilburn plays buttoned-up, strait-laced Norah, a lawyer handling abuse cases, with Small playing Tomithy, an actor with a free spirit. After plucking up the courage to speak to Norah, Tomithy manages to draw her into his playful world, where people dance in parks, feed pigeons and imagine crazy things.

Their slow-burning romance is cultivated over chats in the park and a supermarket, and eating ready meals under the stars. But things go pear-shaped when Norah comes across a document, which reveals that Tomithy is an ex-con and did time for abusing a child.

Child abuse is not an easy topic to tackle, but neither the writer, the director nor the actors takes it lightly. Rather, they explore the deep-seated pain of the abused and the psychological impulses that drive an abuser. The result is both moving and mesmerising.

Moving effortlessly from playful banter to moments of deep despair, Small and Kilburn show why they are two of the best young acting talents in South Africa. Their performances are aided by Le Cordeur’s sensitive direction, a charming cameo by Mpumy Ndlovu, who plays the role of a chatty, friendly till operator, and a simple set, which makes clever use of a white bench, a table and paper birds that fly across the ceiling.

Drama is undoubtedly a hard sell in KZN, and a play that deals with the sensitive subject of abuse is unlikely to attract hordes to the theatre.

But, if you love outstanding performances and a story that is deeply poignant and makes you think, make sure you see Your Hand in My Pocket. This is one play that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.


• Your Hand in My Pocket is at the Catlina Theatre in Durban, at 8 pm nightly, until November 18. Tickets cost R60 at 031 305 6889 or


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