The incomparable Brenda Ngxoli has once again proven why she is South Africa's first and only Emmy nominee for acting. The Capetown born star gives what could only be described as her best performance yet, in the new etv music drama, Hustle.I am constantly complaining that our local actors talk too much on screen that one never gets to fully appreciate the nuances of a character because of all the words. The writers and director of Hustle drama series premiering on etv on September 26th, have finally heard my lament and in this series they allow the actors to act and not just talk.
Hustle is truly a screen gem that, with the kind of budget shows like Empire and Power get in Hollywood, could have easily stood head above shoulders up there with them. In this edgy musical drama director Jahmil Kubheka transports the viewer into a character driven world where he strips his scenes of all the gloss we are so accustomed to.
I had the pleasure of being invited to the screening of the first episode ahead of the premiere. My verdict is that I love the show and am certain it will be received well by etv audiences. Umlilo and have certainly raised the bar for etv and the shows they now commission reflect that growth.
Obviously being exposed to big budget productions, one can find fault with the show here and there but for the most part, it delivers on all fronts. The acting, the production quality, the cinematography, the writting ... the Fireworx Media team have really put in the effort on this one.
Not to give too much away; in a scene where Kitty Khabule (Brenda Ngxoli) commits a surprising crime, I found myself conflicted about how to react to the scene. You want to laugh at the comical tint of the actor's reaction but the director does not allow the moment to cross a line by avoiding the tragedy of the moment to get too melodramatic.
My favourite scene has to be "Can I please have some lights, even just one"; Ngxoli goes there! Her finest moment in this episode for me... and they were plenty to chose from.
A nod to Dineo Ranaka and Carlo Radebe for saddling up for their role too. Ranaka could have made her character a caricature of the usual bitch on the show but she somehow manages to make her role tolerable and worth the screentime. Carlo Radebe is also amazing. I forsee a lot of hashtag moments with his scenes once the show airs.
Obviously judging a show with just its first episode is somewhat not a fair indictment on its status but the premiere episode often sets the pace for a show and thus gives a trustworthy prediction of how the entire season will be.
Hustle is well worth the screentime and you should check it out from Monday 26 September at 9:30PM.