London Road at 2011 Fest

Following rave reviews, numerous awards and sold-out houses around the country, the runaway smash hit London Road returns to Grahamstown.

Presented by KBT Productions, it will be performed at the National Arts Festival at St Andrew’s Hall from 30 June to 5 July and from 8 to 10 July.

Lara Bye’s production features the power-house duo of Robyn Scott and Ntombi Makhutshi in Nicholas Spagnoletti’s tender, funny and poignant story about two women from diverse backgrounds whose lives collide in a Seapoint apartment block.

Winner of the Standard Bank Golden Ovation award for Theatre at the National Arts Festival last year, the show has garnered three Fleur du Cap awards (Best Performance by an actress for Robyn Scott, Best Supporting Actress for Ntombi Makhutshi and Best New SA Script for Nicholas Spagnoletti, making it the most nominated production this year) and was also nominated for two Kanna awards – Best Director for Lara Bye and Best Female Artist for Robyn Scott.

London Road has received universal praise from critics, including “one of the Festival’s must-sees….”(Cue); “Memorable, mesmerising, magnificent” (Citizen) and “…feels like a little miracle.” (The Next 48 Hours).

”London Road is a simple and intimate reflection on growing old, loneliness, fragmented families and the healing power of a friendship,” says director Lara Bye.

On the surface, Stella and Rosa Kaplowitz have nothing in common. Stella is a young Nigerian woman. Long distant family, dodgy gangsters and a sense of survival makes her very mistrusting of the gestures of strangers. Rosa is an elderly Jewish widow living in a flat on the fifth floor. Her children and grandchildren live in Australia and Israel so she keeps herself occupied by becoming very involved in the business of her neighbourhood. These two women find themselves stranded together and take comfort in finding that common themes unite them.

London Road is written by seasoned TheatreSports performer and Cape Town writer, Nicholas Spagnoletti who won the Audience Choice award at the PANSA new South African Playwriting competition in 2007 for his original script. The production has been further developed for the stage through improvisations in rehearsals and based on extensive research by director Lara Bye and her actresses.

Bye continues her exploration of the theatre of suggestion. With London Road she brings her trademark attention to detail, intelligent sophistication, unique theatre style and staging to the production. Other recent projects have included directing The Flying Dutchman at the Suidoosterfees and ‘night, Mother for this year’s Main Programme at the National Arts Festival, again working with London Road designer Craig Leo and lighting designer Faheem Bardien and featuring Sandra Prinsloo and Antoinette Louw.

Original sound for London Road is by Braam Du Toit.

London Road will be performed at St Andrew’s Hall on 30 June at 13h30; 1 July at 15h30; 2 July at 10h00; 3 July at 13h30 and 17h30; 4 July at 16h30; 5 July at 22h00; 8 July at 10h00 and 14h00; 9 July at 12h30 and 10 July at 12h00.

Tickets cost R70, R75 or R85. Tickets to the show on 10 July cost only R43.

PG 13 Language

* For a taste of the production, see or visit

Bookings can be made at Computicket

* Look out for Producers Simon and Helen Cooper who will present as part of the Hands On! Masks Off! Programme. Writing about the Fleur du Cap awards this year, commented, “With the number of times Simon Cooper’s name was mentioned in grateful thanks, it’s clear even from this just one event, that his contribution to the local theatre scene – in many aspects – is both a positive and necessary one. It is of significance that the body of work being produced and presented in his Kalk Bay Theatre, or under the banner of his KBT Productions, is of such quality not only to sustain the off-the-beaten track Theatre itself, but also to make work of a standard which gets the tongues of the country wagging.”

What the press have said about London Road:

“Memorable, mesmerising, magnificent” Citizen

“a treasure…. a warm, witty and wise drama” Business Day

“…sterling performances….. one of the Festival’s must-sees….It’s a small story with a huge heart and is one of those Festival moments that won’t leave your head when you leave this city.” Cue 2010

“a very special piece of theatre”

“…feels like a little miracle.” The Next 48 Hours;

“….simply brilliant… radiates beauty and empathy.” Sunday Independent;

“The humour is gentle, the drama and pathos understated … brought to life by two formidable stage talents …” Sunday Times;

“A beautifully written script performed magnificently by two very talented women and directed with such beautiful eloquence. This play raises the bar on new South African writing for theatre.” Ismail Mahomed, National Arts Festival Director

“…awash with lingering powerful images.” Cape Times

“Go to London Road. It’s worth the journey.” Cape Argus

“Die 36-jarige Scott in die rol van die bejaarde Rosa Kaplowitz is verbysterend… Makhutshi is pragtig en het ‘n sterk teenwoordigheid op die verhoog.” Die Burger

“…..Spagnoletti has both a good ear for dialogue and a camp sense of humour…This is indeed promising new work.” Mail and Guardian

“…… an absolute master class in movement and breath….”

“I cannot think of a single reason why anyone in Cape Town shouldn’t see this play.”

“London Road is quite simply not to be missed.”

“…the visual prompts are so effective one hardly needs imagination….”

“London Road is a compassionate vignette with many laugh-out-loud moments and well worth an evening out.” False Bay Echo

“……London Road will definitely leave you with a warm appreciation for one’s friendships and the joys of sharing.”

Production information:
Production: London Road, presented by KBT Productions
Written by: Nicholas Spagnoletti
Directed by: Lara Bye
Cast: Robyn Scott and Ntomboxolo Makhutshi
Set, props and costume design by Craig Leo and Lara Bye
Lighting Design by Faheem Bardien
Original Sound by Braam Du Toit
Original Set Concept: Lara Bye
Venue: St Andrew’s Hall
Dates: 30 June – 5 July and 8 – 10 July
PG Language