Naledi Awards a success

THE Naledi Awards for theatre held at the State Theatre in Pretoria on Sunday have delivered a predictable verdict, with Paul Grootboom's Foreplay, the sexually-explicit production, collecting three statuettes out of the nine for which it was nominated.

THE Naledi Awards for theatre held at the State Theatre in Pretoria on Sunday have delivered a predictable verdict, with Paul Grootboom's Foreplay, the sexually-explicit production, collecting three statuettes out of the nine for which it was nominated.

Grootboom was named Best Director, while his cast Koketso Mojela was hailed as the Best Supporting Actress and Israel Bereta was awarded for Best Original Choreography.

Janice Honeyman and Bernard Jay's pantomime Pinocchio also received three awards on the night.

For Pinocchio, Sibusiso Radebe, who delighted audiences as the little wooden puppet, received the Naledi for Best Performance in a Musical (male), with the production itself being named Best Musical.

The theatre community was not surprised when veteran actor John Kani also did well. It was a given that Nothing But the Truth would earn the kudos for Best Production of a Straight Play, with Kani also scooping the Best Performance Award by an actor in a lead role. The Lion and the Lamb, also with Kani at the helm, saw Margaret Motsage and Nokukhanya Dlamini sharing the award for Best Performance in a Musical (female).

As expected, Mike van Graan's Brothers in Bloodwon the Best New Play award, and also earned Denis Hutchinson the Best Theatre Lighting Design trophy.

But the Naledis, founded by the dame of musical theatre Dawn Lindberg six years ago, are still not perfect though representativity has improved. In 2008, Lebo M of the Lion King fame declared the awards a sham, sparking a great theatre debate in the country.

But still, the awards seem to have left room for further criticism, with some fairly good plays having been left out of contention.

For example, Mr Flatnose, written and directed by one of the new leading lights in theatre, Martin Koboekae, was not even nominated. It's a good production by local standards. Fat Black Women Sing, written and directed by Napo Masheane, though nominated, did not win.

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