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

IVOTI (THE VOTE) (article first published : 2007-09-18)

An extremely talented Ayanda, an Idols runner-up, tells her story of the Idols experience in a one-hander which showcases her great talent. It has its poignant and funny moments and she holds the audience from her opening number, Umamalo which portrays the Xhosa prayer "how we do it for guidance and protection".

She has a superb stage presence and can certainly move as well as sing, whether it’s rock or the more moving, sentimental, nostalgic songs. She is equally at home in all forms and even has a reggae encore. Her acting forte comes to the fore when she portrays a dialogue with someone else, purely by her facial expressions when the other is talking.

This is Ayanda Nhlongothi's inside story of theIdols voting process and how it has impacted on her life. She pays tribute to her KwaZulu-Natal roots while celebrating the legendary Durban family, the Nokwesi. In the process she takes us on a spiritual journey from Kwa Mashu to Egoli, to Idols, to New York and back again. She uses the large stage to great effect and back projection slides effectively complement her story. With only one such slide of Broadway, she conveys so well her wonder, amazement and thrill at being in New York that one shares her feelings completely. I could feel as if I was with her at her home on Broadway at 36 West Street, 6th Avenue.

Not having seen Idols, I would have liked this entertaining musical revue to have had more detail of theIdols show and voting process as well as more biographical detail. I'm sure she would have told it superbly.

Although there was a very small audience on the Sunday evening preview I attended, Ayanda had its full support on the couple of occasions where she inveigled their participation, once in song and the other playing various percussion instruments to accompany her singing.

After interval the show borrows heavily, and most successfully, from a rock concert format, complete with smoke, lights and electric guitar and backing tracks. This is used to welcome the audience to the first live performance of her long-awaited debut CD, Music2Me -‘Umngoma’. Her musical talents are displayed on keyboard, piano and African drum as well as on a Xhosa instrument made from a bow and a string.

Whether you are anIdols fan or not, you cannot help but appreciate Ayanda's talent. Miriam Makeba is mentioned as being one of her luminaries and I could not help but imagine Ayanda in the lead role in King Kong in which Miriam Makeba made her name. Ayanda would be superb. The idea just begs to be taken up by an enterprising entrepreneur (then I would have the chance of seeing this blockbuster which I unfortunately missed when it toured South Africa in 1957).

Ivoti - the Vote is directed by Tu Nokwe and Themi Venturas and runs at the Catalina Theatre until September 30 with performances from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20h00 (Sundays at 18h00) Bookings on 031 305 6889 or at www.strictlytickets.com – Maurice Kort




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