Love, Crime and Johannesburg

Jump to navigation Jump to search

musical by Malcolm Purkey, Carol Steinberg and members of the Junction Avenue Theatre Company (1999). Published by Wits University Press (2000).


Using a variety of musical styles ranging from contemporary African jazz and marabi through American Rhythm & Blues to adaptations of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Love, it tells the story of Jimmy "Long Legs" Mangane, people’s poet and hero of the struggle, who is jailed for robbing a bank. He has to deal with the fact that his former struggle comrades who now shun him, have become powerful and wealthy members of the new elite. Other characters include his two girlfriends, the sassy young operator Bibi Khuswayo and the liberal young middle-class activist Lulu Levin – images of liberated, multi-cultural new South Africa. Another, the aging streetwise former gang leader Bones Shibambo, is disillusioned by the lack of discrimination, finesse, style, honour and integrity amongst modern-day criminals. [Van Heerden (2008)][1]. p 159.

The stories of three chracters based on the escapades of struggle poet Mzwakhe Mbuli, foreign affairs official Robert McBride and transit heist mastermind Collin Chauke.

Performance history in South Africa

1999: Premièred at the Grahamstown Festival in June 1999 with the Junction Avenue Theatre Company, directed by Malcolm Purkey, with Ramolao Makhene, Lindani Nkosi, Arthur Molepo, Baby Cele, Linda Sebezo, Gina Shmukler and Lawrence Joffe. The same production opened in the Market Theatre on 22 July 1999. Music written by Ed Jordan, musical direction by Saranti Reeders.

2004: Staged in May 2004 in the Wits Theatre Complex, directed by Malcolm Purkey, with Lerato Sekele, Kabelo Thai, Mpho Osei-Tutu, Lunga Radebe, Ashleigh Harvey, Lawrence Joffe, Nobulall Dangazele and Sharon Spiegel. Musical direction by Gerry van Zyl.

Translations and adaptations


Review written by Adrienne Sichel in The Star, 23 June 1999.

Business Day, 14 May 2004.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to ESAT Templates

Return to L in Plays I Original SA Plays

Return to L in Plays IV: Festivals and Pageants

Return to South_African_Theatre/Plays

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page