A cappella has the potential of being completely ridiculous. Think about it. It’s a bunch of people on stage with no instruments, singing with no backup other than the knowledge that their mothers love them. The best way to overcome the unintended ridiculousness is to be intentionally ridiculous. Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect is a lovely example of this. A Town Called Fokol Lutho hits the ground running by having tautology in the name.
Apparently ‘Fokol’ is Afrikaans for ‘nothing’ and ‘Lutho’ is black for ‘fokol’. The town in question has absolutely nothing going for it except the locals’ inexplicable talent for singing (it’s the cactus juice). They are so backward they can’t even claim their contribution to the first successful heart surgery in the world. But boy do they have soul.
Director Tara Notcutt seems able to draw the best out of men in particular, her previous all male casts including Three Little Pigs and Mafeking Road. In A Town Called Fokol Lutho she brings spectacular characters out of Carlo Daniels, Moenier Adams, Waasief Piekaan and Nkosekhaya ‘Jack the Bass’ Mgoqi. The fifth member of the ensemble, Jervis Pennington, does not give the impression of a man that can be directed. His whole demeanour is that of an independent street busker, much like the blind man that recently ran into a spot of trouble with the metro police at St George’s Mall. His modest supporting role in Fokol Lutho does not hint that he was a lead singer in a major South African pop group the Soft Shoes in the eighties and the playwright of the production.
A Town Called Fokol Lutho takes a comical look at small town South Africa, taking a stab at basic human nature, sexuality and inequalities of the past. They do this with none of the offence and all of the comedy. A mere 70 odd minutes with the lovelorn boys of Fokol Lutho and you’ll feel like part of the family. Forget about the town of the week in Getaway and rather go visit the musical little town called Fokol Lutho.
Jana van Heerden
Take a roadtrip to A Town Called Fokol Lutho at Kalk Bay Theatre from 12 July to 10 August 2013. The production is rated PG 13.