Entertainment / Arts And Books

Kulani Nkuna
1 minute read
18 Sep 2013
6:00 am

A taste of things to come

Kulani Nkuna

Those who were looking to gauge what type of artistic director James Ngcobo will be at the grand opening of the refurbished Market Theatre, left the venue with more questions than answers.

In the lead-up to his tenure, Ngcobo kept most of his cards close to his chest. One thing is certain: jazz will regularly occupy a corner in the building.

The art and theatre community came out in great numbers to witness the rebirth of the Market Theatre, which has been the artistic home of Barney Simon, Mbongeni Ngema, Athol Fugard, John Kani and others. Instead of an event filled with speeches, Ngcobo put together a spectacular show that encompassed snippets of some of the most memorable plays staged at the venue.

Excerpts on the night included a speech written by Barney Simon and read by Lionel Newton; the plays Have You Seen Zandile? by Gcina Mhlope and Nothing But The Truth by John Kani; Andre Odendaal’s Somewhere On The Border; Saturday Night At The Palace by Bobby Heaney, Diepe Grond by Lucille Gilwald and Athol Fugard’s Hello And Goodbye.

 

Pictures: Refilwe Modise.

Pictures: Refilwe Modise.

 

All these works were accompanied by a magnificent jazz soundtrack that added sophisticated charm. Pianist Nduduzo Makhathini served as musical director for proceedings and he and his band never missed a beat.

Ladies of song Pu2ma, Noma-gugu Makhathini, Mimi Mtshali and Gugu Shezi soothed the audience with songs from Africa. A dance piece, choreographed by Luyanda Sidiya, was short, but powerful.

Dorothy Ann Gould was sublime in the excerpt from Hello And Goodbye. And Ngcobo had one more surprise.

First, Hugh Masekela appeared from the back of the stage playing his trumpet, and then he was joined by Sibongile Khumalo, sending the crowd to musical heaven. The pair sang together playfully, getting the crowd on their feet, and bringing a fitting end to the evening.