REVIEW: The Colour Purple – The Musical. A joyful experience!

Growing up my sister and I were exposed to the world of arts and culture, going to see the likes of Johnny Clegg perform live, attending ArtsAlive events and enjoying jazz music on a park and our personal favourite and most memorable was seeing African Footprint, a musical production, many many years ago! To this day we remember the songs, the dancing, the costumes, the vibrancy of it all and the actors who magically drew us into their production and had everyone in the audience tapping their feet and singing along.

A few years ago we frequented the Market Theatre, enjoying various theatre productions and then going to Niki’s Oasis Restaurant and Jazz Bar in Newtown to have a drink and meal with friends afterwards. But recently we were really in for a treat!

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On Women’s Day, Wednesday 9th August, my sister and I headed to the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein after an already eventful day. We were invited to attend the The Women’s Day Gala Performace of The Colour Purple – The Musical, directed by Janice Honeyman and what an ABSOLUTE honour it was. The perks of having a sister who is well connected I tell you!

We walked out of that theatre house having been through a personal experience but also felt connected to everyone else who had just witnessed this amazing show. We were truly blown away and quite emotional – feeling proud of the stellar performance but also because the themes really hit home for us. We both agreed that this has been our best musical to date.

In the spirit of arts and culture and #supportlocal here’s why you should go see it:

1.      It’s quite a big deal of a production.

Based on Alice Walker’s novel The Colour Purple, which won the National Book Award for hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1983, this book caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey who had a deep connection to the story and subsequently played Sofia in the feature film version. The production then made its way to Broadway and now the Joburg Theatre is the first theatre in Africa to host and co-produce the musical. It’s quite a big deal and something we should all want to be a part of.

2.      Lights, camera, ACTION!

From start to finish, the stage and lighting, props, the costumes, the song and dance grip you and keep you wanting more. The production is set in Georgia, USA between 1909 and 1949 and all the elements combined literally take you there! We honestly have some seriously talented actors and their voices are impeccable. Make sure that you are present and that you fully immerse yourself in the experience, allow yourself to go there and participate and connect. Oh and pay attention to the wonderful orchestra – that live band and

angelic voices sound almost too good to be true.

3.      It’s so relevant.

Seeing as it’s Women’s Month you’ll want to see this production because it speaks to so many issues that both men and women in South Africa (and the world) face and are addressing. Issues of gender roles, women’s rights, gender based violence, patriarchy and even issues around migration and the diaspora, personal transformation and boundary setting – there’s likely to be at least a few issues that you’ll find resonate with you and in some cases that pull on your heart strings. For the really sensitive (or maybe I should say emotionally in touch? It all sounds the same though doesn’t it?) it’ll be sure to turn on the waterworks, so not only do you get to watch an amazing production but you get a free therapy session with that – value for money!

BUT it’s not all doom and gloom…

4.      There’s humour and light-heartedness!

The actors literally take you on an emotional journey and bring on the funny at just the right moment…and then again and again to lift you up! The commentary that comes mostly in song will make you laugh too so listen to those three soulful sistas that constantly dish out their opinions. My favourite characters were Sofia and her man. The dynamic of their relationship is so interesting (refreshing actually) and Sofia is the feisty, fire-cracker of a lady that all women should somehow embody and that men should embrace. She is TRUTH and STRENGTH!

In Oprah’s words, “Everyone on the stage, behind the scenes and in the audience bears witness to something extraordinarily transcendent and uplifting.” You have to see it for yourself. Take your sisters, friends, and partners and immerse yourselves in a joyful production.

The nitty gritties:

The production is aimed at those aged 13 years and older. It’s back by popular demand for a second time now and we understand why (lucky you if you haven’t seen it – seriously!). It’s showing from the 7th August to 2nd September 2018. Tickets start at R100 all the way up to about R400.

To purchase your tickets you can call 0861 670 670 or visit www.joburgtheatre.com. Let us know below if you’ll be seeing it and what your thoughts are if you already have.

Written by Senzi Mthembu (@senz_m)


6 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Colour Purple – The Musical. A joyful experience!”

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