King Kandoro's Family Meeting Tour Live at 7 Arts Theatre: A Review

After multiple legs across southern Africa, the Family Meeting Tour was once again in Harare. A fitting location to round up the last few months of performances, after all a comedian unlike a prophet is most loved at home, even though in Zimbabwe's case it can be difficult to tell between the two. It was also a case of the third time's charm as this brought the performances of Family Meeting in Harare to three.

Tanya Alex on stage at 7 Arts Theatre
Tanya Alex on stage @ 7 Arts Theatre 

The crowd was just as eager as the first time. 7 Arts Theatre played host to a night of not just comedy but music too. Comedian Tanya Alex, The "Founder" Tanto Wavie and the walking instrumental Probeatz were the curtain raisers, with rising comic Tinashe guiding us as the MC on the night. However, once again I had the mischance of missing Tanya Alex and yet another Tanto Wavie performance. It's been a year of trying to catch up to no avail.

Tanto Wavie on stage at King Kandoro's Family Meeting Tour Live at 7 Arts Theatre
Tanto Wavie on stage @ 7 Arts Theatre 

However, I was right on time for the introduction of Probeatz. We're often too caught up in the intricacies and level of skill he displays with his beatboxing, and we don't notice the immense music catalogue Probeatz has/is putting together. He walked on to a hit of the past and left us with a definite hit of the future. "Ibanga iroro" started a performance that a different "knife", featuring Jah Prayzah on a HipHop sound finished.

Probeatz on stage at King Kandoro's Family Meeting Tour Live at 7 Arts Theatre
Probeatz on stage @ 7 Arts Theatre

While King Kandoro was certainly the man of the moment, Tinashe's comedic brilliance cannot be overlooked. He certainly knew how to work the crowd and the audience also gladly obliged him. From earthquake-causing shoes to lost rings, he was quick on his feet, as he had to be because they were a few false starts to Kandoro's introduction.

Tinashe on stage at King Kandoro's Family Meeting Tour Live at 7 Arts Theatre
Tinashe on stage @ 7 Arts Theatre

Being Zimbabwean is a full time job but instead of being paid in money you're paid in citizenship - Tinashe

Preceded by his NAMA Award for Oustanding Stand-up Comedian which was placed on a white pedestal on stage, King Kandoro finally made his entrance. In a six-button suit completed with white sneakers and as usual, Tanto Wavie was his theme music. The Family Meeting was officially in session.

King Kandoro's Family Meeting Tour Live at 7 Arts Theatre: A Review
King Kandoro on stage @ 7 Arts Theatre

From the last time Kandoro had performed locally, he had experienced quite the highs and lows. He had finally been recognized as the funniest man in Zimbabwe by winning a NAMA Award which had been a long time coming but unfortunately in the weeks that followed he lost his mother after a battle with cancer. The occasion was sadly his first special in Harare, where his mother wasn't seated front row in the audience. This was the elephant in the room he quickly addressed. 

Congratulations and Condolences were packaged in humour and delivered with the uniquely Kandoro flourish. The fragility of existence and its achievements were reflected in laughter, and with the wisecracks about his mother he announced no one was off limits. Following that declaration, we dived right into THE DOCUMENTARY! 

They may not have been found "guilty" in the court of law but even a rotisserie chicken isn't as well roasted as they've been in the court of public opinion, and Kandoro certainly turned up the heat again with the most hilarious observations. From the Gold Mafia, he went into the newfound expectations of him shame yekuUK! The accent still very much shouts I'm from the dusty streets of Harare even if the GPS has a location in London.

However, the actual theme of the Family Meeting was NARRATIVES! How differently stories are told when we're all going through the same journeys. Democracy at work vs An unstable political climate, Inflation vs The rising cost of living. As with any Family Meeting, we didn't stay on one subject. We meandered, touching on religion and prophetic ambassadors, Xenophobia, Russia, politicians and of course there was a moment for Nick Mangwana.

The " of Helensvale" even made it into the discussion, along with Zanu PF, Kevin the Wedding Planner and of course feminism's local arch nemesis, Shadaya. It was practiced and refined, and in the true nature of an African Family Meeting, it was current. As the Family Meeting tour has gone on, King Kandoro has continued to absorb everything going on in the news cycle and added to the show.

I can confidently say that no two Family Meetings will be a carbon copy of one another. The special is one with its own life and it's ever-evolving around this skeleton of narratives. A wardrobe malfunction saw a button fall off Kandoro's suit, and that was the devil's smudge on an otherwise near-perfect performance.

King Kandoro's Family Meeting Tour Live at 7 Arts Theatre
King Kandoro and the 7 Arts audience 

He paid homage to the hardest working civil servant in town, and we imagined the game of quidditch played by rusero with the likes of Dumbledore Ncube. The craft of comedy was executed at its finest, and even in moments when the punchline might've been off, Kandoro's mannerisms and stage presence still drove it home.

Kandoro has also managed to weave a web of running jokes from one special to the next. What began with Conspiracy Theories returned with the Prodigal Son and has carried on into the Family Meeting. I hope Netflix is paying attention because it's about time the King of Zimbabwean Comedy was on a global platform.

Greedysouth rating: 7.9/10

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