EDINBURGH 2023: Review: YES-YA-YEBO!, Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

We can’t help but sway on our seats with a big smile.

By: Aug. 17, 2023
Edinburgh Festival
EDINBURGH 2023: Review: YES-YA-YEBO!, Laughing Horse @ The Counting House
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EDINBURGH 2023: Review: YES-YA-YEBO!, Laughing Horse @ The Counting House Back In 2012, host of the Edinburgh Fringe showcase ‘Pick of the Fringe’ Mervyn Stutter raised money at his Gala for this charity Imibala – an organisation serving children from impoverished backgrounds in the Helderberg Basin for over two decades. The money raised has made a dream come true for the cast members of this dynamic and vibrant show.

All from the township areas of Lwandle/Nomzamo and areas from Macassar outside Cape Town. Yes – Ya – Yebo! consists of five girls and four boys all around the age range of 16 -24. Not one of these members have ever been abroad or on an aeroplane.

Through the power of song and dance, this performance celebrates the 12 official languages of South Africa; Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu.

Through each language comes a different style of song and dance which resonates with the language and area. Afrikaans is clearly effected by Dutch and German influences and seems more upbeat and contemporary, whereas the isiXhosa has a more traditional, folk sound such as such as "The Click Song" which was famously sung at weddings to bring good fortune. As the group meander through the various languages and music; we imagine South Africa; the Rainbow Nation at its heart – a unity of all cultures under one sky living in peace together full of colour and energy.

The highly rhythmic music and use of percussion matched with gentle melody and harmonies spiral and reflect the inner feelings of each part of the country. From duo, romantic melodies sung euphoniously and with a sweet-tone by 19-year-old Sphumeze Gwayana and 16-year-old Goodwill Beliwe to dramatic upbeat group performances of all 8 performing big dance numbers. As the show dynamically moves, we can’t help but sway on our seats with a big smile.

A particularly impressive moment when the three boys (all 16/17 years old); Ahlume Ndonegi, Dondre Colberg and Goodwill Beliwe do a gumboot dance which was originally a means of communication amongst miners who were forbidden from talking to one another. This is an example of the subtle subtext to each episode of this show. The three utilise the concepts of polyrhythm and total body articulation with every movement making it a spectacle to watch.

Director and choreographer, Mnayemezeli Sylvester Magqabaza entwines the various high energy dance sequences with thoughtful speeches with references to going from rags to riches and Nelson Mandela.

Yes – Ya – Yebo! is not just an ode to a beautiful country and its people but it is an example of the life changing power of theatre. All ten of them are natural born performers, it is a moment for a group of young adults to use their voice and bodies to express themselves and experience the world.

This is a celebration of something much bigger than just a show and will give you a spring in your step when you leave.

Yes – Ya – Yebo! is at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House until 22 August




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