South Africa's film industry is on the rise and we have front row seats.
The Legendary SA Musical, King Kong, is Back!
Celebrate the comeback of this historic musical! Watch VIDEO footage of the original King Kong Musical
The iconic tale of the legendary South African boxer, King Kong, has made a return to the stage! This thrilling re-staging comes 56 years after the production's final curtain call at the Wits University Great Hall, in Johannesburg. The Todd Matshikiza and Pat Williams’ musical returns with all the excitement and euphoria of the original. It’s on until Sunday, 3 September 2017, catch it before it travels to the Joburg Theatre. The electrifying cast breathes life into one of Mzansi’s greatest tragic tales, once again.
King Kong chronicles the inspiring rise and tragic fall of South African heavyweight boxing Champion Ezekiel Dlamini. Born in 1921, the champ was propelled into the spotlight during the peak of his career, in the 1950s. As fame goes, the boxer was setup by one of his enemies and it landed him in jail – the fierce athlete was never the same. But that’s all you’re getting from us. If you want to see how this powerful production concludes you’ll have to head to the Fugard Theatre and see it for yourself!
King Kong is vibrant and exhilarating. It will tug at your heartstrings, split your sides with laughter and have your feet tapping to the infectious beats. Vocals are executed effortlessly. The characters are charismatic, lovable and sincere, going through trials and tribulations still all too familiar. The phenomenal all-black cast cover pertinent socio-economic problems and themes still plaguing our beautiful country.
Jonathan Munby, whose theatre portfolio includes Julius Caesar with the Chicago Shakespeare Company and The Crucible at the Cocoon Theatre in Tokyo, directs a star studded cast. You might recognise: male lead, Andile Gumbi, who appeared in The Lion King (The Musical) and TV soap IsiBaya; or Sne Dladla, the comedian who just completed the first run of his solo show, iChameleon and was cast in District Six as Kanala; or maybe Lerato Mvelase who has appeared in SABC TV shows like Home Affairs, Intersections and Isibaya; Tshamano Sebe, played a role in Athol Fugard’s Master Harold And The Boys; and King Kong’s female lead Nondumiso Tembe has appeared in a few HBO series, like True Blood, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles and Castle.
William Nicholson’s revised book and lyrics and musical director Charl-Johan Lingenfelder’s additional music and arrangements bring jazz, swing and secular Xhosa/Zulu choral music together flawlessly. While Gregory Maqoma choreography merges step, traditional Xhosa/Zulu and swing dance. The set design is inspired! Costume and scene changes are seamless and make the best use of the multipurpose space. There is notable attention to detail; the costumes are historically accurate and perfectly suited to each character. The collaborative efforts of the King Kong team successfully staged a hauntingly beautiful musical that makes the audience romantically nostalgic about South Africa’s dark past.
Don’t regret not making your way to The Fugard Theatre for the return of South Africa’s first ‘black’ musical. Eric Abrahams produces this edition of the prodigious production that was monumental in the careers of Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. Words from Esme Matshikiza, wife of late composer Todd Matshikiza, and Irene Menell, widow of musical investor Clive Menell, below:
TICKETS FOR THE 2017 PRODUCTION OF KING KONG AT THE FUGARD THEATRE
You can grab your tickets from Computicket.com. The show runs from Tuesday, 25 July to Sunday, 3 September 2017. Shows start at 8pm, with a 4pm matinee on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. Tickets range from R130p/p to R280p/p, depending on seating.
If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to give the Fugard Theatre a call directly on +27 (0)21 461 4554 and they will be sure to help.
Photography by Daniel Rutland Manners.
Words by Inga Sibiya
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