Tricycle Theatre, London NW6
Opened 2 July, 1991

The blurb really tells the whole story: Zenzele arrives in Soweto to find his hero, Uncle Bongo, is now a drunken lingerie salesman and the famous Soweto Starbrites group long defunct but Zenzele's youthful enthusiasm wins through, the group reforms, Bongo is reunited with his former woman, and everybody's happy. It's a product of that time of hope in South Africa, between Mandela's release and the faction-fighting; as such, it carries no Message it's simply fun.

The show belongs to the puppets: disembodied petticoats shake their invisible hips, a female puppet makes love to Zenzele, alley-cats fight... the two live actors are simply in the foreground of a vast puppet Soweto (no, it's not a metaphor). The publicity alerts audiences not to expect another Woza Albert!; be prepared to enjoy yourself, and you will.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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