directed by Zenzi Mbuli, with Vincent Ncabashe, Mfana Hlophe, Samuel Nene, Nicholas Nene, Sipho Ndlela, Lloyd Rathebe, Brian Muzi Nkosi, Thabiso Setlhatlole, Thulu Mkhize and Thabo Matbiba. Presented by SFX at the Pantages Theatre (244 Victoria). Runs to March 18, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday-Sunday 2 pm. $26.50-$66. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
if you liked stomp and tap dogs, you'll probably enjoy Gumboots, the latest international noisefest, wherein an ensemble of sweaty men stomp their feet, slap their thighs and pound our eardrums into submission. More concert than dance show, Gumboots is supposedly inspired by oppressed South African gold-mine workers who, forbidden to talk, communicated by slapping their gumboots and rattling their ankle chains.
Add a lithe young cast of singer/dancers, some fine harmonic singing and a kickass band and you've got a spectacle that's bound to appeal to audiences' liberal political sympathies.
There's very little politics here, though, except for a perfunctory opening bit about Nelson Mandela and some vague, manipulative ditties with titles like Rebuilding The Country and A Tribute To Lives Lost.
Fact is, the songs almost all sound the same, and there's not much of a heart or dramatic arc to the show, so things quickly become monotonous.
But the performers are always watchable, especially lead singer/guitarist Vincent Ncabashe, whose infectious grin reaches the back of the Pantages. GS*