NEXT!!! Auditions are Not for the Faint of Heart
NEXT!!! Auditions are Not for the Faint of Heart, a cabaret produced by the Wela Kapela Production company of East London, South Africa, stars Dikelo Mamiala in a story of triumph and resilience that focuses on the challenges young black female performers face in contemporary South Africa. The play makes the theme as universally accessible as the familiar songs in the show. The story shifts between a narrative of the woman’s life — negotiating a waitressing job while going on auditions — and the musical numbers she auditions with.
Mamiala sings like a Broadway-bound angel. She displays incredible vocal range in both Broadway standards and African songs. Mamiala plays the audition numbers well, with nerves and breathlessness, even when a broken elevator delays her. However, it’s in the narrative numbers that she shines. The character psychs herself up with the mantra “confidence, confidence, confidence,” but she’s never more confident than when singing a song that reveals her inner self and ostensibly not performing for anyone.
In this way, the show is successful as a layered portrayal of a performer with the talent and passion for succeeding but has to fight against industry stereotypes. It would be wonderful, however, to see Mamiala in a traditional cabaret performance where she presents the songs that speak most to her so she can step fully into her confident performance outside of the trope of the show.
"NEXT!!! Auditions are Not for the Faint of Heart"
Performed by Dikelo Mamiale
Written and Directed by Amanda Bothma
March 10, 2023
The Spring 2023 United Solo Festival
March 7th - March 26th, 2023
410 West 42nd (btw 9th and 10th Avenue)
STEPHANIE EAGAN is a professional writer based in NJ. A fan of every type of live performance imaginable, from taiko drumming to political performance art, she travels the tri-state area and beyond in search of music, art, theater, and excellent coffee.