Review: Namisa Mdlalose in Girl at the vNAF – a poignant comedy

Platform: vFringe – the virtual edition of The National Arts Festival, South Africa

Format: Film


Genre: Comedy

Available: View until July 31, 2020

Direct booking link: https://nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/girl/

Tickets: R25

Scroll down for production info

Namisa Mdlalose was a sensation in Kinky Boots which was staged last year (2019) at The Fugard Theatre, Cape Town. This multi-talented young performer (she is 25) sings, dances and has dramatic and comedy smarts. She brought all of that to Kinky Boots which won her a much deserved Fleur Du Cap Theatre Award 2020 for best supporting actress in a musical or music theatre show. For Girl- created for the vNAF- she has won a highly deserved Ovation Award in what I can describe as an innovative and original piece of performance film which is magical, whimsical and punches through a darkly real perspective of here and now in lockdown.

We see Ntombi- known as Girl to her friends –who welcomes us into her MTV special edition of her 30th birthday party. Girl is home alone- waiting and hoping for guests to arrive –emotionally or physically – it appears that it is not possible for a physical visitation  during lockdown.  Reminiscent of physical theatre in a live context, simple props are used to conjure up characters and situations- tins of soup, a mop, a clothes rail.

I don’t want to plot spoil because there is strong narrative in this short film – just over 15 minutes. Girl talks to us directly and invites us in to explore her sleek décor and admire her cooking skills and singing talents. We get to see the view – wow- be prepared. This is her nest, haven, shelter in place which contains her. But within the capsule of her home, she is lost and has lost. The story is a roller-coaster of emotion – from fun MTV riff to a meditation on mothers and daughters; the ties that bind and disconnect and the yearning to make sense of it.  And the regret- the regret of not making contact when one could.

Mdlalose and her creative team (Shelley and Richard Lothian)  have created an art film which cleverly makes use of space and form, graphics, with a knock out script and utterly engaging performance. Girl is entertaining and a deeply reflective piece on home, lockdown, mothers and daughters-funny, quirky, poignant; sad and uplifting. It is 15 minutes that you will want to watch a few times. Loved watching- a tonic and upper with a deep reach into an emotional landscape which we can all relate to – on many levels.

Namisa Mdlalose – Girl

Available: View until July 31, 2020

Direct booking link: https://nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/girl/

Tickets: R25

·  Duration: 15 minutes 30 seconds

·  Age Recommendation: 10+

·  Genre: Comedy


·  Language: English

Concept: Namisa Mdlalose and Shelley Lothian
Artist: Namisa Mdlalose
Writer: Namisa Mdlalose
Director: Shelley Lothian
DOP: Richard Lothian
Editor: Richard Lothian
Hair, make-up, wardrobe: Namisa Mdlalose
Set: Namisa Mdlalose and Shelley Lothian
Location: Castserve Studio