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PERCUSSION EXPLOSION (article first published : 2006-04-27)

Running in the Playhouse Loft at the moment is a compelling 30-minute dance piece titled Percussion Explosion from Lucky Gumede Productions. It is directed by one of Durban’s most talented up-and-coming directors, Skhumbuzo Nsele.

Percussion Explosion is a collaboration of drums and dance - drums being the traditional storyteller through different rhythms while the dancers portray emotions and moods. The Loft is a suitable and intimate venue for this piece, taking into consideration the show’s smoky atmosphere, wispy shroud-like costumes, graveyard setting, rustic fencing, atmospheric sound effects and high rock-like platform at the back of the stage for the drummers.

The work revives the spirit of togetherness between the living and the non-living whereby a young man is spiritually inspired by the inheritance and spirit of the non-living. It may be set in a graveyard but it’s not in the least gloomy. Rather it offers a sense of vibrancy - especially when the ancestors explode into raucous laughter!

All kudos should go to Sibusiso Gantsa who took over as the main dancer at extremely short notice with no apparent signs of nervousness or uncertainty. He is supported by Sibusisiwe Ngubane, Nomsa Ngubane and Sipho Foh Gasa with drummers Malusi Ndlovu, Ayanda Malinga, Lucky Gumede and Mbuso Mbhimbi.

Director Skhumbuzo Nsele has created an interesting and spiritual piece of dance theatre which flows consistently and there are good performances all round. It’s perfect for visitors to Durban over the long weekend who would like to see a mix of contemporary dance, Zulu traditional culture - and some really hot drumming.

One rather alarming note in tonight’s otherwise professional presentation was the appearance of a man who calmly walked onto the stage from the wings as one of the dancers made his entrance; moved across and into the audience and sat down. Those around him initially thought he was part of the production but his vocal interruptions soon placed him otherwise! This breach of the Playhouse’s normally efficient security needs to be examined urgently before it happens again.

Percussion Explosion runs in the Playhouse Loft Theatre from April 26 to 29 at 19h00 with an extra performance at 15h00 on April 29. Tickets R20. Bookings through Computicket or Playhouse box office on 031 369 9596 or 031 369 9540 or dial-a-seat facility on 031 369 9555.

Percussion Explosion is sponsored by the National Arts Council of South Africa and Artists Productions. For more information contact Lucky Gumede Productions on 072 575 1162 or 082 216 4522 or e-mail: skhumbuzo@yahoo.com – Caroline Smart




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