Wow. Just wow.

With David Kramer at the helm, I knew that I was in for a treat with District Six – Kanala, but had no idea how much I would laugh, cry and most of all, dance. Seriously, it took a lot of will-power to not jump up and jive with the cast as they performed their high-energy musical numbers,  but I’m getting ahead of myself.

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District Six – Kanala does much more than pay tribute to the music, culture and people of the area prior to its destruction under the Groups Area Act. It is David Kramer’s way of honouring the memory of those he met and worked with on the original District Six Musical, including the late Taliep Petersen who created the show with Kramer.

While the subject matter of the play is quite heavy, District Six – Kanala successfully celebrates the memory of what was, rather than focus on the horror of what happened. Whether you’ve seen the play before, enjoy the vibrant music of the ’50s and ’60s or even lived in District Six, you will definitely feel nostalgic as you watch.

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The play starts off with a black and white video of an open veld with the wind blowing and the sound of a saxophone. Voices start to sing, and every hair on my body stood up. Lights slowly show the faces of the cast and they appear through the background. Then they began signing more vibrantly, moving to the front of the stage and dancing as they go. Instantly my  toes started tapping. The story is narrated by a young girl, who shares her grandmother’s stories of District Six using an old photo album.

She takes you through the good and bad sides of District Six, which is brought to life through the rest of the incredible cast. Perhaps the most powerful thing for me is the use of old photographs of District Six as the backdrop. These change according to the song or scene onstage and really immerse you into the memory of the place.

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The music is just spectacular! A shout out has to go out to the band. Their performance was phenomenal, and they are a big part of the show, as they should be.

The cast’s singing and dancing was so in sync and so infectious that you fed off their never ending well of energy.

Like I said, I just wanted to get up and dance. All around me, people were singing, clapping bobbing their heads or tapping their feet. It is impossible not to get involved in the music!

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There are absolutely hilarious moments combined with profoundly emotional ones, and they are weaved together so effortlessly, that you go through this joint journey with everyone in the theatre. You remember the bad, but more importantly, you celebrate the memory of District Six, as this is the best way to keep the memory alive.

Everything from the incredible cast and band to the magical set and costumes are perfection. As my friend rightly said, absolutely everyone should go see this musical. It will keep you entertained from start to finish!

NOTE: The show has been extended to Sunday 3 July 2016. 

OF NOTE
When 11 February at 8 pm until 3 July 2016
Where Fugard Theatre, Corner Caledon and Lower Buitenkant Streets, District Six, CBD
Cost R120 – R220 at Computicket 
Contact +27 21 461 4554, [email protected], www.thefugard.com

Photography courtesy Jesse Kate Kramer and Daniel Rutland Ma

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