BY BILLY SUTER
DURBAN stood proud at the 13th Naledi Theatre Awards in Johannesburg last night (June 5) when Greg King, of KickstArt, took two awards in a row.
King, who has won awards for his set designs every year at the Durban Theatre Awards, took the Gauteng awards for best costume design (Shrek the Musical; an award shared with his colleague, Shanti Naidoo) and best set design (Suddenly the Storm, a Johannesburg production).
In addition, Shrek the Musical, which received 10 nominations at the Naledis, took the award for best supporting actor in a musical, for Durban actor Rory Booth’s delightful Donkey.
The awards, held at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City, also saw Durban victorious in the category of Best Actress in a Musical – Charon Williams-Ros took the award for her sassy Miss Hannigan in the Johannesburg touring production of Annie, a show which also took the award for best musical.
Williams-Ros, most recently seen in Durban as Mama Morton in KickstArt’s glorious production of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago, was not at the ceremony, as only last month she relocated to London.
Another local connection was Durban-born Taryn-Lee Hudson, who so very deservedly took the award for best featured performance in a musical for her excellent, high-voiced Lena Lamont in Singing in the Rain.
Her colleague, Grant Almirall, was also a deserving winner for best male performer in a musical, for his lead role in Singing in the Rain.
Music icon Johnny Clegg received the special World Impact award and the Life Time Achievement Award went to Haccious Mokopakgosi, for 50 years of dedication to theatre from behind the scenes.
The award for best director of a musical went to Neels Clasen, for Altyd in My Drome, which also took an award for Dawid Boverhoff for best score.
Clasen, by the way, was also nominated for best actor in a musical for his role as Daddy Warbucks in Annie, for which Bryan Schimmel took the award for musical direction. Annie also took the award for Mark Malherbe’s sound design.
The award for choreography went to Nhlanhla Mahlangu for Tau, which also took an award for best ensemble.
The award for finest cutting-edge production went to AS, produced by the Market Theatre.
The Naledi for best production of a play went to I See You, which also took the award for best actor (Desmond Dube).
The Naledi for best performance by an actress went to Ilse Klink for Scorched, and that play also took awards for finest female supporting role (Ameera Patel) and best direction (Jade Bowers).
The award for best new script went to Paul Slabolepszy for Suddenly the Storm which also took the lighting design award for Wesley France. The lighting design award was shared with Hlomohang Mothetho for Tau.
Over the past 13 years, the Naledi Theatre Awards has honoured more than 60 Lifetime Achievers, veteran artists, technicians and administrators who have dedicated their lives to local theatre, while also paying tribute to people in the arts who have taken their final bows during the year under review.
The Naledi Theatre Awards cover all mainstream professional productions from the period January 1 to December 1 of the previous year, and the Naledi judges typically evaluate more than 100 productions in some 27 categories.
The Naledi panel of judges consists of informed and regular theatre-goers, academics and members of the media covering the arts in Johannesburg.