A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

drama
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE ADVENTURES OF JABULANI JOE (article first published : 2005-04-2)

Two young actresses headed for the top are Josette Eales and Janna Ramos–Violante who have been seen in various productions around the city over the last few years. They recently pooled their considerable talents in an utterly enchanting hour-long tale for youngsters called The Adventures of Jabulani Joe which is running until April 3 at Catalina Theatre.

I was not able to see this production at the beginning of its run which was unfortunate because I would have made a considerable effort to encourage people to see what I believe is one of the most well-presented, intelligently written and excellently performed pieces of theatre for young people I have seen in a long time.

The story is about Jabulani Joe, a monkey who is bored with being a monkey and living under the strict daily control of Chief Wangakulu – a delightful character created by both actresses talking in unison, with Josette perching on Janna’s back. So Jabulani sets off through the jungle and tries to become a member of different species, such as elephant, lion, hippo, snakes and vultures.

Jabulani Joe is played, with appropriate monkey sounds, by Janna while Josette takes on the persona of the other animals involved. The two work extremely well together. They are both good movers and each actress’s energies match and complement the other. It’s a highly energetic piece with no let-up, particularly with a young, excited and responsive audience. I must also congratulate them on their focus with small children wandering onto stage or bursting into tears when they get there and the inevitable trail to the toilets which goes with the package of children’s entertainment!

There is a strong educational element to the show but this is almost subliminal as it forms a natural dialogue between monkey and the other species. As Jabulani battles to fit in with the others, he finally comes to the realisation that he’s better off as a monkey and accepts the dictum: “Be what and who you are”.

Performing in front of black drapes which hide the set for The Stand Up, Aaron McIlroy’s production which is running at Catalina in the evenings, Josette and Janna are casually dressed and use the minimum of props and costumes. My only quibble with the production is that it needs more visual impact. Youngsters – and adults, too - are assaulted by visual colourful imagery on a daily/hourly basis through television, computer games, advertising hoardings, and an ever-increasing use of flag banners. Although the storyline is that the performers have to present a makeshift production on the spur of the moment to keep the audience entertained, the show could benefit from a few fake trees, bushes and lianas to help the image of the jungle.

The props they use are simple and cleverly utilised, particularly a painted pool cleaner pipe, but I think these could be expanded to help the imagery. I loved the sequin-embellished snakes!

Josette and Janna wrote and workshopped the piece with Themi Venturas providing final directorial input. I would like to see this production return in the future. It shouldn’t be consigned to the filing cabinet. The Adventures of Jabulani Joe has its final performance tomorrow at 10h00 at the Catalina Theatre, Wilson’s Wharf. Tickets R30 can be booked through Thandeka on 031 305 6889. – Caroline Smart




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart