Stable’s star Christmas show

2010-12-14 00:00

WATCHING Nkanyezi – The Star on Friday night was a little like coming across a gift tucked away beneath the Christmas tree or in the very bottom corner of your Santa sack… a delightful treat.

Caroline Smart’s beautifully written, heart-warming play tells the story of four friends — Nomathemba (Khanyisile Jwaha), Gloria (Lyschelle Linderboom), Tharusa (Derosha Moodley) and Joan (Julia Wilson) — who are celebrating their first, successful year in business at Joan’s house.

The play opens with Joan and Gloria decorating a tree for a neighbouring orphanage with the most stunning beaded ornaments I’ve ever seen. They are soon joined by Noma­thembe, who has just come back from a successful trip to the United States, and Tharusha, who has enjoyed an equally successful trip to India.

But the happy evening is shattered when Joan receives a phone call from her sister in Britain to say that their mother has been badly injured in a car crash on the way to Heathrow. As Gloria tries to give Joan some much needed comfort, Jerusha and Nomathemba sit on the balcony and talk.

In a beautifully understated performance Jwaha, who won the Durban Theatre Award for new performer (female), reveals Nomathemba’s secret heartache — the disappearance of her uncle and her family’s search for him — as they listen to a guitarist (played by Thabani Kulu) playing on the steps of the church.

But before you imagine that the play is depressing, I can assure you Nkanyezi is anything but. More than one miracle happens on this special night before Christmas eve and at the end of the play the cast, which includes Faca Kulu, will have you singing along.

Adding to its charm is a simple set and some delightful musical offerings from Mahlobo. If I have any quibble it’s that the lighting was not quite perfect on occasion and opening night nerves meant there were a few small errors.

That said, Smart, director Thuli Dumakude, and Kulu who is also the musical director, need to be congratulated on the Stable’s first offering, which was made possible thanks to playwright, director and choreographer Welcome Msomi, who donated his prize-money from the Johnny Walker Celebrating Strides award to the venue.

Estelle Sinkins.


Nkanyezi – The Star can be seen at the Stable Theatre, 115 Johannes Nkosi Street (formerly Alice Street), Durban until Sunday. Showtimes: 6.30 pm with matinées at 2.30 pm. Sunday’s show is at 4 pm. Tickets R30 (R20 students and pensioners). To book phone 031 309 2513.

REVIEW: Nkanyezi — The Star

Stable Theatre, Durban

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