News and reviews

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WOIC Review: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency


As Precious Ramotswe’s beloved father (Apollo Ntshoko) lies dying of lung disease from working in the mines, he vows to leave her with enough cattle to start her own business. “[A] hardware store,” he croaks with his dying breath. “People always need nails.” But Mma Ramotswe proudly announces that she will open her own detective agency – a place of safety where everyone can come to her with their problems; an agency open to all the people of Botswana. Upon hearing this, Obed chokes and dies.

The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is an acclaimed series of novels by Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith, who collaborated on the script for the musical. The spirited and cunning Precious Ramotswe, the only female detective in Botswana, forgoes violence and forensics when solving cases and relies instead on wit and instinct. The series has been adapted for radio and television, and now it makes its stage debut as a musical directed by theatre impresario Nicholas Ellenbogen.

A merry, frivolous and fun affair, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, The Musical clutches your attention from the get-go and never loosens its grip. The kooky cast’s enjoyment of their ownperformance is spellbinding as they lead you on a jovial joyride, playing each of their outlandish characters with enthusiasm and zest. Zoliswa Kawe relishes her role as the voluptuous Mma Ramotswe, “a woman of traditional build”. She is the object of the fumbling JLB Matekoni’s (Apollo Ntshoko) hopeless devotion and is assisted by proud secretarial college graduate Mma Makutsi (Thumeka Mzayiya) who never misses a chance to inform anyone who will listen that she graduated with 97 per cent.

The story is fast-paced and unapologetically slapsti
ck as the actors change sets and characters right before your eyes. Mma Ramotswe’s little white car is transformed into Obed’s  deathbed, while Apollo Ntshoko goes from playing love-struck JLB to being Mma Ramotswe’s dying father with a quick dash beneath a blanket. The three gorgeous beauty queens of the Beauty and Integrity contest are played by men in skintight dresses and curly wigs, holding long, shapely wooden legs.

The music is composed by Freshlyground’s Josh Hawks and features a variety of musical styles including African dance, reggae, pioneer-style jazz, gentle ballads and maskandi music. As a passionate African music lover, I was disappointed at the minimal use of traditional Tswana music, lyrics and dance. This, however, did not hinder my enjoyment of the show. Luvo Tambo was the glowing highlight of the night as he sang and danced with wild energy and abandon, singing “A Snake, A Snake, A Snake!” to the thumping reggae beat.
The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, The Musical is hilariously light-hearted and free-spirited – a charmingly self-deprecating and effortless night out.

Nwabisa Mbana

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, The Musical runs from 6 October to 24 December 2015 at the Grill Room, at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town at 8pm. Tickets cost R 200 – R 250 (R 265 – R 330 for pre-show dinner)

Dates: 6 October – 24 December, Tuesdays – Sundays
Time: 20:00 (with a 20 minute interval)
Price: R250, Optional two-course pre-show dinner at R295
Bookings: To buy tickets click here / Pay at the door using SNAPSCAN
Dinner: Reservations 021 483 1948 /
Information: Dian 072 942 8102 / 


Previous Production

  • Florence And Watson
  • Full Stops On Your Face- FSOYF
  • Matzer Festival From Holland
  • Shakespeare’s Word Play
  • Under Milkwood
  • Cape Youth Choir
  • Cry Havoc
  • Raiders The Musical
  • Mpinga Mornings
  • Cat Sings Ella
  • Pride And Prejudice
  • Backyard Blues And The Neva Wazza Band
  • The Music Shop
  • Oom Schalk, From The Heart
  • NAT
  • The Way We Were
  • Whar’s Yer Troosers
  • Ebola
  • Bokele And The Sun
  • Curl Up And Dye
  • Old Kit Bag
  • Raiders: The Great War
  • Françoise Hardy & Brel, So Alive, So Well!
  • Bokele And The Sun
  • Fergus Of Galloway
  • The Way We Were
  • The Shadow Of Brel
  • Oscar & Noel Encore
  • Silly Mid On
  • Jewels Of Opera And Song
  • El Grande De Coca Cola
  • Live With Ivy
  • Parrot Woman
  • Elnora En Nirvana
  • An Audience With Miss Hobhouse
  • Sleight Of Mouth
  • The Minnie And Johnson Show
  • Raiders: The Whisky Trader

Florence and Watson



Florence and Watson are singing, dancing Honey Badgers who love kids and telling stories. The story about the Little Striped Mouse who discovered a unique and special talent that saves her village and the Magic Proteas that grow on Sugarbush Mountain is one of their favorites.
Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush Mouse is a hilarious, touching and magical kids show with great music and a feel good message all brought to you by a multi award winning team of theatre-makers.
Producer, Siv Ngesi (Standard Bank Ovation Award Winner), has brought together a team of artists that are passionate about storytelling and bringing the rich world of Florence and Watson alive.

Dani Bischoff  (Barclays LÁtelier Western Cape Finalist)  and Rob van Vuuren (Standard Bank Ovation, Comics Choice and SAFTA Award Winner) have written and directed a show for children that is inspired by all their four and a half year old daughter’s favorite stuff.
‘We wanted to put together a show that our own daughter would love. So we’ve created a magical mountain full of fairies, dragons, giants and talking animals and found the best most versatile actors and musicians we could (Fleur du Cap Award Winner Dean Balie – Kat and the Kings, Blood Brothers, Orpheus in Africa) and Fleur Du Cap and Standard Bank Ovation Award Winner Sne Dladla – Fergus of Galloway, Betty and the Yeti, Orpheus in Africa) to infuse it with great comedy, awesome music and beautiful performances.’ Says Van Vuuren.
Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush Mouse also boasts the design talents of celebrated illustrator, graphic designer and thing maker, Lauren Fowler.

The National Arts Festival run in Grahamstown run will coincide with the launch of the book; Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush Mouse written by Danielle Bischoff and Rob van Vuuren and illustrated and designed by Lauren Fowler

Don’t miss Florence and Watson in this fun filled family romp for kids from 4 and up.

Dates: 6 – 10 October, Tuesday – Saturday
Time: 11:00 – No Interval
Price: R90 
Bookings: To buy tickets click here
Information: Dian 072 942 8102 /

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Full Stop On Your Face



Written and directed by 2014 Fleur du Cap winner Penelope Youngleson, Full Stops on Your

Face (FSOYF) is produced by Rust Co-Operative 

(Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award 2014, Amsterdam Fringe 2014, Standard Bank Ovation Award 2013, Afrovibes Festival in the Netherlands 2013, IDGTF Awards for Best new production 2013).

FSOYF is a one-woman performance by Iman Isaacs that contrasts the scourge of social injustice and Islamophobia gathering momentum in global politics; with the increasingly horrific cases of gendered violence in South African homes. First performed in 2013,FSOYF was rewritten in 2014 to update its relevance in current news.

Wars and genocide over the last decade have taught us our fair share of racial profiling. We’ve been told exactly what a terrorist looks like. And the beckoning finger of governance ensures we don’t forget it. But when the line between vigilante and villain is drawn by the end of that finger, it becomes more and more difficult to know whether people will be able to see past your face.

“If you have any interest in the future of South Africa, ensure you watch this work.”

– Sarah Roberson, 2014

“This is one of the most powerful pieces I have seen at the National Arts Festival in a very, very long time. The writing is unlike anything we’ve seen in the past 20 years…and the performance [by Isaacs] is unique.”
– Adrienne Sichel

Dates: 9 – 26 September, Wednesdays – Saturdays
Time: 20:00 – No Interval
Price: R120 full / R60 students and pensioners
Bookings: To buy tickets click here
Information: Liz 072 3166133

Cry Havoc came and left the audience speechless.


Set in present day Cairo, Egypt, CRY HAVOC explores the troubled relationship between the western world and the Islamic Middle East. Cultural imperialism, religious fundamentalism, political repression and personal sexuality are deftly unfolded in this tender and shocking play about the dissolution of the loving relationship between British expatriate writer, Nicholas Field and his young Egyptian lover, Mohammed Al-Masri. Coash writes with an exquisite sense of irony which provides real wit and comedy in the play as he brings the lovers to confront their convictions and obsessions and also a repressive government and their own identities.
Directed by Roy Sargeant with Cameron Robertson as Mohamed, David Viviers as Nicholas and Anthea Thompson as Ms Nevers. Its South African premier was at The Grahamstown Arts Festival in 2013.

“The piece works particularly well in the …versatille space of the  Rosebank Theatre…[Roy] Sargeant [director] has not shirked from creating an intimacy between the lovers…”
– Tracey Saunders, Cape Times

“Cry Havoc is a play that will break your heart. It’s a soulful journey into forbidden love that should not be missed under any circumstances.”
– Bizcommunity

Dates: 12th August to 5th Sep Wednesday to Saturdays
Time: 19.00 (with a 15 minute interval)

What’s happening at the Rosebank Theatre? Why, loads!

Whew! What a busy few weeks we’ve had at the Rosebank Theatre. Not only are we fully dug in with our run of Old Kit Bag, we’re also busy with not one but TWO productions at the Cape Town Fringe Festival!

So, where to begin? Well, most urgent first…!

LIVE WITH IVY at the Cape Town Fringe

live with ivy

Tonight is the last performance of the beautiful Live with Ivy at the Alexander Bar. The dynamic duo of Nicholas Ellenbogen and Claire Berlein have teamed up once again to bring this magnificent, poignant piece of theatre to the stage. Book your tickets now and don’t miss this show before Ivy packs her bags one last time…

FERGUS OF GALLOWAY at the Cape Town Fringe


Another Rosebank Theatre favourite is returning to Cape Town – the romping Fergus of Galloway written by Alexander McCall Smith and its team four-member cast (Daniel Richards, Sne Dladla, Jessica Munna and Jonathan Tait) are preparing for four editions of musical madness at the Cape Town Fringe, starting on Thursday 3 October. Missed it at the Rosebank first time round, or keen to give it another go? Get your tickets here.

OLD KIT BAG at the Rosebank Theatre

OKB new

The troops and nurses in our World War I-era musical Old Kit Bag are in full swing at the Rosebank Theatre. Join Liz Szymczak, David Scales, Matthew Roberts, Jessica Munna, Liz Starke and Sean Whitehead in a sing-along musical that will delight history-lovers and tickle your nostalgia.

Still not convinced? Read this wonderful review from our Facebook fan Joy Rosario:

Authentic, poignant without soppy, this little production is a ‘not to be missed’ for anyone who appreciates the losses of the Great War and an education for anyone who doesn’t. A well crafted tribute and a great bit of theatre.

Book your tickets for Old Kit Bag on Webtickets, or phone Sean on 074 101 5066.

Pack up your troubles… And come see OLD KIT BAG!

Old Kit Bag 1

We can’t believe it – there are just TWO shows left in this year’s edition of RAIDERS! That’s right, RAIDERS: THE GREAT WAR closes on Saturday, September 6, after an incredible run that has seen many a bad “arm” pun and laughs for all (including the actors on stage!) If you haven’t yet had a chance to see Nicholas, Daniel and Sne in action yet, then book now. Right now. Seriously. Go do it. We’ll wait. Back? Good! Because we have a great new show we’re so excited to tell you about!

Yes, it is the show so many of you have been asking about… OLD KIT BAG! After postponing the show earlier this year, rehearsals for the final chapter in our World War I season are in full swing, and it is looking fantastic!

Starring Liz Szymczak as the Matron, David Scales as the Captain, Matthew Roberts as the Corporal and Jessica Munna and Liz Starke as the lovely ladies of the Medical Core, OLD KIT BAG takes place during the closing months of the First World War. The end is in sight, but the troops are being battered at the front. Morale is low and many brothers have been lost, but spirits are starting to rise after the arrival of the Americans into the trenches.

In an effort to keep chins up, The Back to Front Players of the Royal Medical Army Corps are putting on a concert at the Medical Battalion in St. Julien, coming together for merrymaking during this brief hiatus from battle; a slither of joy and excitement before the darkness of war returns.

This show will be playing some of the best tunes and ditties from the homefront, as well as some numbers the troops cooked up – you will be surprised how many songs are familiar!

Join us in remembrance of the Great War, as well as enjoying a wonderful evening of music, from 17 September. Details below.


Starring David Scales, Matthew Roberts, Nicholas Ellenbogen, Liz Szymczak, Jessica Munna, Liz Starke, Sean Whitehead.

Dates: 17th September – 18th October
Wednesdays – Saturdays: 8pm
Saturday Matinee for pensioners: 3pm

Tickets: R120
Students: R60
Pensioner performance (Saturday Matinee only): R60

Click here to book online or phone Sean on 074 101 5066.


Full steam ahead! RAIDERS: THE GREAT WAR charges on to the Rosebank stage

Raiders The Great War

Daniel Richards, Nicholas Ellenbogen and Sne Dladla in RAIDERS: THE GREAT WAR

Hot off a sold-out run at the National Arts Festival, Nicholas Ellenbogen brings the latest installment of his legendary Raiders franchise – RAIDERS: THE GREAT WAR – to the Rosebank Theatre, and the first reviews have already started rolling in!

This, the 25th edition of the adventure-comedy franchise, also stars rising talents Daniel Richards and Sne Dladla in an irreverent journey across Europe at the height of the First World War, mixing history with fantasy and more than a dash of comedy … Bringing you, the audience, along for the ride!

Beverley Brommert of the Cape Argus rated the show at FOUR STARS OUT OF FIVE, writing in her review:

It is not so much the aleatory and inventive plot that delights spectators, as the outrageous ingenuity with which simple props are used to evoke great and dramatic happenings.

… No Raiders would be complete without the considerable groan factor of predictable or familiar puns, and this one is no exception; it all adds to the innocent fun.

Need more convincing? Perhaps some more details? Like a plot, show times, ticket prices and booking details? Fair enough…


Europe is at war and the Bolsheviks have signed the forms to execute the Romanov family. In a last ditch effort to save the royal bloodline – Harold (Nicholas Ellenbogen), the master spy plans to smuggle everything he needs to restart the Romanov dynasty once the war is over.

But he knows he can’t do it alone, so he enlists the aid of a Cossack Royalist by the name of Yakov (Daniel Richards). Together they flee Russia while being hunted by Comrade Dobrov and the might of the rising Red Army.

Starring Nicholas Ellenbogen, Daniel Richards and Sne Dladla
Show times:
Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8pm until 6 September 2014.
Ticket prices: R100 General, R60 for pensioners and students
How to book: You can either book on Webtickets here or phone Sean on 074 101 5066

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Cape Town loves Fergus of Galloway!



It has been an absolute roller coaster getting Fergus of Galloway going!

Now that it is – we have been getting phenomenal reviews!

“FERGUS OF GALLOWAY is one of the most refreshing pieces of theatre that has appeared on stage in Cape Town this year. It is the kind of play that will send you out into the night grinning from ear to ear…” – David Fick (

Click here to read the review

“…an evening of manic fun.”

“As an ensemble, this is excellent theatre, with well-matched executants.” – Beverley Brommert (Cape Argus)

Click here to read the review

“… I had a smile plastered on my face from beginning to end.”

“[The music] was the element which made me want to stay seated after the show ended – being as I was in no rush to brave the far less fabulous outside world quite so soon.” – Melissa Cohen (The Next 48 Hours)

Click here to read the review

“…the cast plays together and their sheer delight and exuberance on stage is infectious.”

“This is a quirky and unusual production; a musical comedy accessible to all ages…” – Tracey Saunders (Cape Times)

Click here to read the review

There are always more reviews coming in! Keep checking in for more!

Reviews Galore!

The UCT Autumn Season is now in full swing – with the double-bill of DIE BUFFEL and THE OPEN COUPLE nearing its close…

The first review is from Beverley Brommert for the Cape Argus.





The next review if from David Fick for

“Weare has a knack for comedy and here he has found the right rhythms for the two pieces, both of which entertain the audience deftly from the first notes of music…”

Click here for the full review

Catch these shows before they go on Saturday!

Book your tickets now on Webtickets, or phone Nabeelah on 021 480 7129.