Woza Audiences to Woza Albert!

Woza-Albert-4It’s that time of the NAF when those who have renewed energy scramble to see as much as they can before having to wait another 360-odd days to do it all again… with time left for only a handful of shows, we want the utmost best. So… if you can get a ticket, get to Woza Albert! this weekend.

The Hexagon Theatre’s production of one of South Africa’s seminal protest theatre works, directed by Peter Mitchell and performed by TQ Zondi and Mpilo Nzimande, is one of slickest and sharpest shows I’ve seen at fest.

Excellent set, excellent lighting, excellent costuming – with clever use of all these, Woza Albert! stays true to Grotowski’s poor theatre and pays tribute to South Africa’s protest theatre which emerged in South Africa during the late 70s and 80s.

It’s astute anti-apartheid satire at its best. And Zondi, Nzimande and Mitchell do it superb justice.

Zondi and Nzimade are unstoppable on stage. They don’t skip a beat. With minimal costume they recreate all of South Africa and transport us to the harsh reality of 80s apartheid South Africa.

Although the audience howls with laughter throughout – the script hits with hilarious wave after wave – like a dangerous undercurrent, incredibly incisive commentary sucks us back to reality.

The reality of the brutal history we struggle daily to emerge from. The reality that much of what Woza Albert! looked at in 1981 is still experienced and being suffered in 2015… abject poverty, daily hunger, the unfathomable distance between rich and poor, substandard education, fear, hate, desperation, and the continued exploitation of the majority who work to make the minority wealthy.

With the coming of Morena comes the promise of houses, wealth, education and food for all. With a big, sharp stick this pokes at the innumerable promises laid at the feet of the poorest, come election time. Woza Albert!’s continuing relevance for South Africa is great, but saddening. The dompas isn’t needed anymore but the divide is palpable to anyone with open eyes and ears. We hear: “What country is this? People are begging in the street while on the other side people’s bins overflow with food?” … How full are Nkandla’s bins, I wonder?

Woza Albert! is fast-paced, seamless and electric with energy. It keeps us reminded of where we’ve come from, which some say is far. But it likewise keeps us grounded in today’s ongoing struggles and speaks to where we still need to go.

– Sarah Roberson

Click here for production info. The last shows are tonight (11/07) @ 22.00 & tomorrow (12/07) @ 10.00 @ Masonic Back. Hamba!

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