Superman goes Durban to elicit laughs

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TO NDR Super review Supplied NEW TAKE: Marc Kay, Adam Dore and Mtho Zulu in Super Mokoena at the Seabrookes Theatre.

NATIONAL Arts Festival supporters of the Actors Unemployed Company (AUC) are in for a treat when this innovative theatre company presents their latest offering, Super Mokoena, in Grahamstown in July.

Well-known for their work in shadow play and offbeat comedy, the award-winning AUC has taken the legend of Superman and transposed it to a South African context.

As Krypton is about to explode, the father of our hero (whom they have named Clark) decides to send him to earth where he will be safe.

His wife is unhappy about this as her opinion of earth and its people is somewhat derogatory.

Baby Clark lands in a field outside Durban and is found, (along with a note from his father) and taken in by the Mokoena family who then raise him as their own.

Mr Mokoena accepts this is no ordinary baby and tries to protect him as he grows up. However, Clark is a problem child at school, always fighting for the underdog.

In adulthood, Clark impresses upon his adoptive father the fact he is able to help those who can’t help themselves.

Clark gets a job on a newspaper as a reporter. Cue one Lexington Shabalala the Third, a corrupt businessman whose sole aim is to amass power and personal gain.

In the process of a massive land buy, Shabalala has his sights set on something which will have destructive consequences.

Can Super Mokoena save the day? He has the power. His only threat is exposure to kryptonite… and Shabalala discovers this to devastating effect.

Clare Mortimer is the director with Bryan Hiles the designer. The play is written by Marc Kay who appears as Mokoena, the newspaper editor and Lexington Shabalala’s delightfully dof assistant.

Fellow AUC stalwart, Adam Doré, moves easily from the role of the understated Clark to the all-powerful Super Mokoena.

Good to see newcomer to the group, Mtho Zulu, as Shabalala and more than holding his own with these two experienced actors.

The show is clever, zany and makes a statement on the corruption which is all too prevalent in South Africa today.

The shadow play is well-handled and often very amusing.

My main problem was that the music background often overshadows the dialogue to the point where some of it is lost.

It would benefit theatre-goers if the speakers were repositioned. Sit in the first four rows on the end, and you are right in the target zone!

You can catch this highly entertaining production at Durban High School’s Seabrooke’s Theatre before it goes to Grahamstown. – Artsmart.co.za

• Super Mokoena runs until April 13, Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm (Sundays at 3pm). Tickets are R95 through Computicket or at the door.

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