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IZINGANEKWANE (article first published : 2002-12-7)

Choosing to keep away from Christmas and festive subjects, award-winning director Garth Anderson and his Actors Co-Operative theatre company have produced a piece of children’s theatre that is proudly African.

Izinganekwane, which is currently running at Kwasuka Theatre, is an exuberant and energetic presentation of three stories which have been cleverly interwoven with the original stories on which the Brer Rabbit character was based as well as traditional Zulu children’s tales.

The actors – Mpume Mtombeni and Rowan Bartlett – with David Cowley on percussion, scamper helter skelter through stories involving adventures with a rather doff baboon, a cow and a game ranger type speaking on behalf of a hyena and a wild dog.

Mpume Mtombeni, who has years of experience behind her from her early days as a member of Napac’s Kwasa outreach programme, imbues Nokwacha - the rabbit character - with her considerable energies and dynamism. Strumming her guitar, she occasionally becomes a vigorous maskanda musician!

Rowan Bartlett gets better each time I see him and the production allows him to present his growing versatility. His cud-chewing sashaying cow is a pure delight.

Greg King’s set design incorporates a dramatic backdrop with its African print and hessian panels which skilfully hides the set of his Steel Magnolias which is also running at the theatre. Garth Anderson’s costumes are highly colourful and attractive and I particularly enjoyed a versatile hat worn by Rowan Bartlett.

Izinganekwane runs for about 40 minutes and is aimed primarily at youngsters aged 12 although adults which find much to amuse them in the show. It runs at Kwasuka Theatre daily at 11h00 (except Mondays) until December 21. Refreshments will be available before the show and there is safe parking.

Tickets R35 (R25 children and pensioners) available at the door or by phoning the Actors Co-operative on 031 462 0566 or Garth on 083 439 1532. - Caroline Smart




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