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

CHAROUES ARE THE MANJAROES (article first published : 2008-05-29)

Thanks to the lifeline from Rainbow Chicken rescuing the Catalina Theatre from closure and also for its future growth, it’s business as usual at this popular venue scenically situated at Wilson’s Wharf. Charoues are the Manjaroes is an example of the kind of work that Catalina has been supporting. New shows, new talent, new stories and new angles.

While Dhaveshan Govender may be a comparative newcomer to mainstream theatre, veteran actor, scriptwriter and director Hamish Kyd is certainly no stranger to local stages. They appear in Charoues are the Manjaroes which recently opened at Catalina. The double bill comprises two productions which they wrote individually: Dhaveshan’s King of Old Trafford and Hamish’s Dunz Senior Secondary.

Dhaveshan, who is one of Durban’s most versatile and in-demand radio actors, presented his King of Old Trafford recently at Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS. This is a well-constructed one-man show directed by Vivian Moodley which runs the gamut of emotions. We get drawn into the character’s love of Manchester United which eventually causes the collapse of his marriage and reveals the betrayal of a close friend. For someone like me, who is just about able to tell the difference between a soccer and a rugby ball, you won’t miss out on the humour. Alright, you’ll miss the sports in-jokes but that won’t deter your enjoyment of the piece. The full review can be seen on artSMart at http://www.artsmart.co.za/drama/archive/2400.html

Hamish opens his Dunz Senior Secondary as the long-suffering Professor Gopal who is muttering with frustration as he marks exam papers. A sign says “Silence, Maaders!!!” As audience members, we are part of an adult class wanting to acquire matric status and, armed with a duelling pistol, Professor Gopal makes no bones in telling us we’re all dof! One of his main roblems is the fact that we are writing essays in sms language!

The school was motivated by Mahatma Ghandi and founded by Aunt Saris and one of its aims is to encourage pupils to say words as they are written. Hence, the idea is to throw out the Oxford Dictionary and focus on the Oxen dictionary (you need to be there to get the reasoning for this!). We are then led through Professor Gopal’s highly amusing take on words and phrases such as Xenophia (Ek se, no phobia), Nood Uitgang (the Nude It Gang) and Psychology (Psst! Why Chology?), to mention a few. Hamish can always be relied on to produce a unique slant to his humour and this piece has much potential. He also includes an amusing take on Victor Borge’s hilarious Phonetic Punctuation!

“Manjaroes” is a slang term used mostly by older members of the Durban Indian community. It has developed from the Kilimanjaro Bar in the landmark Himalaya Hotel where, if a guy was very clued up, he was dubbed a “Manjaro” (ie King of the Bar).

Charoues are the Manjaroes runs at the Catalina Theatre until June 15 with shows nightly from Tuesday to Saturday at 20h00 (Sunday at 20h00). There is an age restriction of 16. Tickets R65 (R35 pensioners and students) with Buy One Get One Free on Tuesdays and Sundays. For more information or to book, contact the Catalina Theatre on 031 305 6889. – Caroline Smart




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