Set to hit Jozi stages this June, Kakadu is a vibrant stage musical that tells the story of the heady period in post-independence Nigeria, into the dark days of the Biafra War, which tore the country apart along tribal lines. The musical is set to thrill South African audiences for a two week run from Thursday 08th June– Sunday 18th June, 2017 at the Joburg Theatre.
A popular nightclub in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, Kakadu was where Nigeria’s beautiful people and most celebrated musicians gathered, with scant regard for tribal affiliation and ethnic differences – Lagos was a hub of artistic and cultural activity, and at that moment in time, anything seemed possible. The musical uses the nightspot as a metaphor for this intoxicating period of sheer optimism and hope, narrating the story through an intriguing set of characters who’ve all made their way to the capital, and converge at Kakadu.
Emeka, Kola, Osahon and Dapo are four young men of different tribes, with their entire lives ahead of them – they’re in the big city, looking for love and success in a newly independent Nigeria. Their counterparts are four young, equally ambitious women of different ethnic origins, Bisi, Amonia, Enoh and Hassania, who are also on a search of love and happiness – and tribal affiliations are not an issue.
It is against this background that the Biafra war breaks out, shattering this patriotic idyll – people retreat into their ethnic corners, and Lord Lugard, bandleader and manager of the legendary nightclub, finds himself battling to maintain equilibrium for himself and the club in the new hostile environment.
This heartbreaking story of a magical moment lost forever, and the shattering aftermath of civil war is told through the insistent and mesmerizing beats of Nigerian High-Life, American Soul, traditional Igbo and Yoruba folk music, as well as Afro Beat and contemporary Nigerian sound. The musical, which debuted in 2013 has since enjoyed successful runs in Davos, Switzerland and Nigeria.
The brainchild of Executive Producer, Uche Nwokedi, Kakadu was conceived partly in response to the dearth of musical theatre in Nigeria, and also as an escape from the tedium of his career as a legal practitioner. Besides his role as playwright and executive producer of Kakadu, Nwokedi is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and Principal Counsel of Uche Nwokedi & Co, one of the leading commercial law firms in Nigeria, specializing in oil and gas law. He ventured into musical theatre in 2003 as a way to mentor young people, and has since staged number of productions, Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Vision, amongst others.
“Nigeria is renowned the world over for our vibrant musical culture, yet this is barely reflected in live theatrical productions.” comments Nwokedi “I am very much a child of the 1960’s and 70’s, and remember all too well what a magical and bittersweet era that was. In Kakadu, I wanted to create a production that communicated this exhilarating, tragic time in our country’s history. That said, although it is a quintessentially Nigerian story, I do believe Kakadu will resonate with South African audiences – there are many common themes that local audiences will relate to, and I really look forward to the musical conversation we will be participating in with South Africans over the 10 days of the show.”
The Johannesburg run of the production will be from the 7th – 19th June 2019. Performances will take place from Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8 PM and a 2pm matinee on Sundays.
Tickets are from R180 – R350.
Tickets are for sale on www.joburgtheatre.com or by calling 0861 670 670, as well as through Webticket.co.za. For group bookings of 10 or more, please contact the Joburg Theatre directly on (011) 877 6853/6855.