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SOME MOTHERS’ SONS (article first published : 2007-01-15)

Wiseman Sithole, as Mushi Mataboka, and Gideon van Eeden, as Braam Visser, do full justice to Some Mothers’ Sons which appeared on the Musho! Festival. This is an excellently and extremely written play by Mike van Graan.

Twenty years ago, Mushi was a freedom fighter who had been caught trying to escape a police round-up and arrested. He had been severely tortured by the police under the apartheid regime and wished to escape by killing the guards with a gun to be obtained by Braam Visser, a young intern lawyer appointed by his company to defend him. Braam had saved his life by talking him out of his disasterous plan and Mushi had subsequently studied overseas to become a lawyer. They had become firm friends.

Twenty years later, in an entirely different South Africa, Braam has been arrested for shooting the three criminals (killing two of them) who had high-jacked and fatally shot his pregnant wife. Mushi is now defending Braam, as his lawyer and as his friend.The whole story unfolds in well-constructed flashbacks and present action, using the two halves of the stage, a table and chair acting as Braam's prison cell on stage left and a chair and an upturned plastic box container on stage right as Mushi's prison cell where Braam interviews him. Clever use is made of the two actors taking off or wearing their suit jackets to illustrate the different periods.

The acting of the two lawyers is faultless and utterly convincing. I have not seen either of these actors before so have nothing with which to compare their performances but I'm sure much credit should go to the director, Jay Pather, who has brought out the best from them. Their delivery is fast and furious when it needs to be and at no time does the play drag. There is an absolute absence of "pregnant pauses" - great stuff.

The play is a great piece of contemporary theatre, very topical and relevant to the current crime in South Africa, and the injustices under the 180 day detentions of the past. However, it is not a political soap-box piece.

Full marks to the Musho Theatre Festival for bringing such actors and plays to light. This play certainly deserves more exposure. Unfortunately good theatre doesn't necessarily attract good audiences. There are only two performances of each of these festival presentations and unfortunately both have been done. - Maurice Kort




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