King Kong


More than half a century since its first performance in 1959, The Fugard Theatre staged a new version production of this iconic and historical musical, receiving five-star reviews and rapturous audience responses. It was directed by British Director Jonatha Munby. King Kong premiered at The Fugard Theatre and in Gauteng at the Joburg Theatre. Its first performance in Cape Town was on 25 July 2017.

King Kong tells the story of heavyweight fifties boxing champion Ezekiel Dlamini whose self-appointed ring name was “King Kong”, to the wildly exhilarating music of Todd Matshikiza. The original production featured music by Todd Matshikiza, lyrics and original draft book by Pat Williams, and book by Harry Bloom. The revised book for the Fugard revival (with additional lyrics) was written by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and playwright William Nicholson. South African choreographer star and French Legion D’Honneur recipient Gregory Maqoma choreographed King Kong to the irresistible original music of the late great South African composer Todd Matshikiza.


First performance
25 July 2017

Final performance
4 March 2018

The Fugard Theatre
(25 July–2 September 2017)
(12 December 2017–4 March 2018)

Joburg Theatre
(12 September–8 October 2017)

Original Cast

King Kong
Andile Gumbi

Nondumiso Tembe

Sne Dladla

Sanda Shandu

Lerato Mvelase

Tshamano Sebe

Ntambo Rapatla

Caswell, Slim, Lucky Cover
Sabelo Radebe

Harry, Journalist, Reverend, Pop Cover, Jack Cover
Joel Zuma

Leadpipe, Ensemble, King Kong Cover
Ben Kgosimore

Athenkosi Mfamela

Shalom Zamisa

Sibusiso Mxosana

Sibu, Mad Cover
Aphiwe Menziwa

Greb Mabisa, Sgt. Walter Ngolo, Ensemble, Harry Cover
Siphiwe Nkabinde

Female Ensemble
Namisa Mdlalose

Female Ensemble, Miriam’s Ma
Lungelwa Mdekazi

Female Ensemble, Petal Cover
Dolly Louw

Female Ensemble, Miriam Cover
Barileng Malebye

Female Ensemble, Joyce Cover
Edith Plaatjies

Male Onstage Swing,
Joe Khanyile
Given Mkhize

Female Onstage Swing, Dance Captain
Rushney Ferguson

Original Band

Band Leader/ Bass
Sipumzo Trueman Lucwaba

Lumanyano “Unity” Mzi

Blake Hellaby

Byron Manfred Carr

Trumpet 1
Lwanda Gogwana

Trumpet 2
Joseph Kunnuji

Tenor Sax
Zeke le Grange

Alto Sax, Clarinet
William Hendricks

Lee Roy Simpson

Creative team

Original Music
Todd Matshikiza

Lyrics and Original First Draft Book
Pat Williams

Original Book
Harry Bloom

Jonathan Munby

Revised Book & Additional Lyrics
William Nicholson

Additional Music & Arrangements
Charl-Johan Lingenfelder

Gregory Maqoma

Set Design
Paul Wills

Lighting Design
Tim Mitchell

Costume Design
Birrie le Roux

Musical Director
Charl-Johan Lingenfelder

Musical Director
Sipumzo Trueman Lucwaba

Associate Director
Mdu Kweyama

Sound Design
Mark Malherbe for Prosound

Fight Choreography
Richard Lothian

Resident Director, Company Manager
Shelley Adriaanzen

Associate Set Designer
Chris Pienaar Associate

Costume Designer
Widaad Albertus

Set Construction
Gerhard Morkel
Carl Gersbach for CHG Engineering

Scenic Painting
Eloise Milward for Scene Visual Productions

Kobus O’Callaghan 

Production team

Eric Abraham

Daniel Galloway

Associate Producers
Lamees Albertus
Greg Karvellas,
Jack Sidey (London)

Production Manager
Roberto Grove

Technical Manager
Ben du Plessis

Stage Manager
Juanita van Wyk

Assistant Stage Manager
Ulibo Maake

Head of Wardrobe
Widaad Albertus

Frances Moerdyk
Nazrine Geyer

Follow spot operators
Clynt Hlubi
Clarence Ceasar

Christopher Pharo
Achmat Khroodien
Angelo Peterson

Sound Systems Technician
David Classen

Sound Operator
Dominique Adams

Mic Technician, Sound Operator cover
Melissa George

Mic Technician
Charmian Thompson

Sound Supplier
Eastern Acoustics

Aziza Aanhuizen
Beverley Avril Harris
Basson Moreni
Charles Beni
Hillette Stapelberg
Jasmine Julies
Reep Verloren van Themaat Ammadu
Emmanuel Kubalasa

Production Photography
Daniel Rutland Manners
Jesse Kate Kramer

Boxing Coach
Chris Mugisho

Christine Skinner

Copy Editor
Louis Viljoen


King Kong is a knockout success”

City Press (Cape Town)

“This triumphant production enchants and uplifts.”

Cape Argus

King Kong enchants”

Die Burger

King Kong is the dancing, singing, jazzplaying embodiment of South Africa’s rich heritage. Don’t miss it.”

City Press (Joburg)

“Collectively, the team have shaped it into a modern production that is still filled to the brim with jazzy beats and amazing songs, all brilliantly executed by an astonishingly talented cast and an exceptional nine-piece band.”

Theatre Scene Cape Town

“Beautifully staged, impeccably performed piece of work, bubbling with vitality and sparkling with talent”

Weekend Special

“Gregory Maqoma’s choreography is simply magnificent.”

Daily Maverick

“Undoubtedly one of the best experiences you’ll see on a South African stage this year.”

Stage and Screen

“Absolute genius. A joy to watch.”

Huffington Post

“Even better than the original King Kong.”

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi