Nothing but the Truth

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There are two stage plays and one film by this name with links to South Africa.

Nothing but the Truth by James Montgomery (1916)

Comedy in three acts by James Montgomery (1882-1966)[1].

A slow moving, subtle piece with a small cast and simple sets, it is a cautionery tale about insider trading. Based on a novel by Fred Isham, it was first produced by the H. H. Frazee at the Longacre Theatre in 1916. It served as the source for later musicals, including Yes, Yes, Yvette (1927) and Tell Her the Truth (1932).

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Afrikaans by Ignatius Mocke as Wie Loer Kry Niks.

Performance history in South Africa

1918: First performed in English by the American Dramatic Company at His Majesty's Theatre on 29 April 1918. The cast was as follows: Charles H. White (Robert Bennett), Edward Donnelly (E.M. Ralston), Jack Pendleton (Richard Donnelly), Richard Scott (Van Dusen), Cecil Kellaway (Bishop Doran), Eileen Errol (Gwendolyn Ralston), Florence Roberts (Mrs. Ralston), Caroline Locke (Ethel Clarke), Naomi Rutherford (Mabel), Hilda Attenboro (Sable). The producer was George R. Montford and the sets were by Frank Tyars.

1943: Performed in Afrikaans as Wie Loer Kry Niks by the Johan Fourie Geselskap in Cape Town, then taken on tour.

Translations and adaptations

It has been filmed at least three times: 1920 (Directed by David Kirkland), 1929 (Directed by Victor Schertzinger) and 1941 (Directed by Elliott Nugent). In 1939 there was even a German version directed by Weyler Hildebrand.


Sunday Times, 5 May 1918.

Gerald Martin Bordman and Thomas S. Hischak. 2004. The Oxford Companion to American Theatre:p. 440[2]

Facsimile version of the 1920 text edition by Samuel French, The Internet Archive[3]

Library of Congress. Copyright Office. Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1[4]

Trek 8(11):15, 1943.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Nothing but the Truth (stage play) by John Kani (2002)

A semi-autobiographical play by John Kani (2002). His first play as solo playwright, and it became hugely popular and won a number of awards. The play ultimately also led to a film and a novel by Kani. The text was published by Wits University Press in 2002.


Set in post-apartheid South Africa, it tells the story of an elderly man wrestling with society, his family and most of all himself, to leave the past behind, but not to forget it.

Performance history in South Africa

2002: Premièred at the Grahamstown Festival in June 2002, directed by Janice Honeyman with John Kani, Pamela Nomvete and Dambisa Kente. The same production was staged at the Baxter Theatre in July 2002. It went to the Market Theatre in September 2002 with Kani, Nomvete and Nthati Moshesh in the cast - Moshesh took over from Dambisa Kente when Kente (44) collapsed a day after performing for Nelson Mandela in a dress rehearsal and died shortly thereafter.

2003: The same production was staged at the Opera House in Port Elizabeth In December 2002 and returned to the Market Theatre in January 2003. In September 2003 it was staged at the Market Theatre with John Kani, Pamela Nomvete, Nthati Moshesh and in November 2003 at the Baxter Theatre with John Kani, Warona Seane and Esmeralda Bihl, again directed by Janice Honeyman.

2003-2004: A successful tour of this production of the USA and Australia followed in 2003/4, starting in December 2003 in the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre at the Lincoln Centre in New York. Set designed by Sarah Roberts, lighting designed by Mannie Manim.

2010: Produced at the Market Theatre, directed by Janice Honeyman. Cast: Cast: John Kani, Motshabi Tyelele, Welile Tembe.

2012: Produced by Siyasanga Cape Town Theatre Company, directed by Fatima Dike, starring Chris Gxalaba (as "Sipho"), Noxolo Bodlani and Zoliswa Kawe. Lighting and design by Alfred Rietmann.

2014: Presented at the Artscape Theatre Centre in April and May.

2015: Presented at the Artscape Theatre Centre 6-13 May, directed by Fatima Dike, as a co-production with Siyasanga Cape Town Theatre Company.

2016: Directed by the author, John Kani, at Artscape, starring Sizwe Msutu, Milisa Siswana and Tankiso Mamabolo.


Winner of inter alia Fleur du Cap Best Actor Award and Fleur du Cap Award for Best New Indigenous Script in 2002 and five Naledi Awards (including Best New SA Play and Best Production) for the period August 2002 to December 2003.


Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

Van Heerden (2008)[5]: p 166.

"Afrikaanse voorgeskrewe werke lok vol sale" - 22/04/2015 - News

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Nothing but the Truth (Film) by John Kani (2008)

A South African film based on the 2002 stage play by John Kani .

(NOTE: Not be confused with an American film by the same name, but a different topic, that was released in the same year, written and directed by Rod Lurie)[6]


Produced by Jazz Spirit Production and Odélion Films. The screenplay and direction by John Kani, with John Kani, Rosie Motene, Motshabi Tyelele, Warona Seane and Esmeralda Bihl in the cast. Music by Neill Solomon, Cinematography by Jimmy Rob, Marius Van Graan, editing by Megan Gil, Jackie Le Cordeur. Running time: 81 minutes. 2003: Directed: Janice Honeyman. Cast : John Kani, Esmeralda Bihl, Warona Seane.

2009: Directed: Janice Honeyman. Cast: John Kani, Leleti Khumalo, Welile Thembe at the Market Theatre.


The film won several African film awards, including:

Écrans Noirs (Yaundé) 2009 - Best Film

Fespaco (Uagadugú) 2009

Festival de Cine de Harare 2009 - Best Film

Milan African Film Festival 2009 - Best African Film; Catholic Peace Prize


Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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