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BRER RABBIT IN AFRICA (article first published : 2002-12-28)

While performing his new children’s show, originally titled Izinganekwane Story Theatre, over two weeks in December, director Garth Anderson realised that a large number of Durban’s theatre-going public was missing out on the fun and games packed into the 45 minute show. He also believed that the title was perhaps a little off-putting for the majority of Durban’s summer holiday audiences.

He therefore decided to revert to the original name Brer Rabbit In Africa because of its immediate familiarity on the ear and eye. The show (reviewed on the Drama pages under Izinganekwane) is a funny, fast-moving comedy that presents a maximum of high energy theatricks for kids, whilst still delighting mums and dads and older members of the family.

Based on the original stories, the play tells the story of good ole Brer Rabbit, a lively little creature more commonly known KZN as Nogwacha, who loves to play tricks on his friends the slow-witted Baboon, self-centred Mrs Cow and the dictatorial Wild Dog. The climax of the play is based on the infamous Tar Baby. Loads of audience participation means that the children get up on stage and help the actors perform the play. Great fun is had by all, with eager youngsters participating in tugs-of-war, digging wells for water and planting crops to stave off drought.

Contemporary yet filled with nostalgic childlike naughtiness, the play cleverly interweaves the original Brer Rabbit fables into a play that features Mpume Mtombeni and Rowan Bartlett, both seasoned children’s theatre performers.

Brer Rabbit in Africa is aimed primarily at youngsters aged 12 and under, and runs from January 6 to 10 at 11h00 at Fern Dell in the Durban Botanic Gardens. Tickets R20 (R15 children and pensioners) at the “door” half an hour before the show or by phoning Garth on 083 439 1532.




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