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THE ADVENTURES OF JABULANI JO (article first published : 2007-12-16)

Earlier this week, I enjoyed a most delightfully entertaining half-hour-plus production of this fine piece of children’s theatre. Last performed at the Catalina Theatre some two years ago, it makes a welcome return to the children’s holiday entertainment scene.

I can only echo Caroline Smart’s comments when she reviewed the earlier show that this 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.” And it has lost nothing in the two year gap.

Written, workshopped and presented by two talented young actresses, Josette Eales and Janna Ramos-Violante, The Adventures of Jabulani Jo tells the story of Jabulani Jo, a monkey. Bored with being a monkey and living under the strict daily control of Chief Wangakulu, he sets off through the jungle in search of freedom. He tries hard to join up with the different animals he meets along the way, such as a lion, snake, elephant, vultures and hippo, but after each encounter he realises that he just doesn’t fit in. Finally he comes to realise that he is better off as a monkey, after all!

The story is well-told and the animals very easily identifiable. With very simple props and clever gestures and sounds, Josette and Jana bring the animals to life. As Caroline Smart said in her earlier review: “The two work extremely well together. They are both good movers and each actress's energies match and complement the other’s. It's a highly energetic piece with no let-up.”

They have a good rapport with their audience, young and old alike, and they are particularly encouraging and sensitive to the youngest members.

The Botanic Gardens’ Amphitheatre provides a perfect setting for this production and every word is audible despite the wind and traffic noises filtering through the trees.

If you appreciate good theatre, need to entertain the children or just want to have some fun don’t miss this opportunity. It is well recommended.

The production runs at the Durban Botanic Gardens Amphitheatre until December 22 daily (except Sundays) at 11h00 Tickets R35 may be purchased 20 minutes before the show begins. For more information call Fett Diva Productions 073 503 8397. – Janet Whelan

Janna is appearing in “Guys and Dolls” while Josette is in “Aladdin”, so these two actresses have their work cut out for them at the moment!




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