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ASINAMALI RETURNS HOME (article first published : 2004-11-25)

The Playhouse Company has announced the popular return of one the greatest hits of the South African stage, the multi-award-winning musical drama, Asinamali.

Written and directed by well-known South African playwright, stage director and recording personality, Mbongeni Ngema, this world-famous work will play in the Playhouse Drama from November 26 until December 5 with Ngema himself appearing in some of the performances.

A show of immense vitality, sadness and humour, Asinamali makes for compelling theatre given explosive force with its hammering delivery, mingling exhilarating dance and mime with hypnotic choral singing.

It has toured internationally for close on two decades, sharing the spotlight with its siblings, Ngema's equally renowned Woza, Albert! and Sarafina. Structured around a real-life event in Lamontville near Durban during the mid 1980's (a critical rent strike led by community activist Msizi Dube and Pastor Mcebisi Xundu), Asinamali won early acclaim at Johannesburg's Market Theatre and toured South Africa before opening at the Roger Furman Theatre in New York City for its American premiere.

It subsequently opened at the Lincoln Centre's Festival of South African Theatre, toured the US, Europe and Japan and returned to New York for a Broadway engagement. It has since won numerous international awards, and Ngema was nominated for a Tony Award for his direction.

Asinamali was last seen in Durban in 1996. Its return season this month sees Ngema himself taking centre-stage on November 26 and 27 as well as on December 3 and 4. Also featured in the cast are Bongani Hlophe, Bhoyi Ngema, Thami Cele, Bheki Mngadi and Ntusi Ngema.

Performance times are: November 26 and 27 (19h00); November 28 (15h00); November 30 (11h00) and December 1 to 3 (19h00). Tickets R35 for Wednesday, Thurday and Sunday shows and R45 on Friday and Saturday. The schools performance on November 30 has a radically discounted ticket price of R10 and can be booked at the Playhouse Box Office. Book now through Computicket or Dial-A-Seat on 031 369 9555




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