The Unlikely Secret Agent Opens at Market Theatre


The Market Theatre proudly presents the highly anticipated production of THE UNLIKELY SECRET AGENT, an award-winning play based on the extraordinary true story of Eleanor Kasrils and her courageous fight against apartheid in South Africa.

Prepare to be transported into the heart of the struggle with this critically acclaimed play, running from 16 May to 2 June 2024.

Based on Ronnie Kasrils’ Alan Paton Award-winning book, the production illuminates the remarkable journey of Eleanor Kasrils. Set in 1963 Durban amidst apartheid’s turmoil, Eleanor, an unassuming bookstore worker and single mother, becomes a clandestine operative for the ANC. When her lover, Ronnie Kasrils, a wanted “terrorist,” is pursued by authorities, Eleanor confronts the brutality of the Special Branch.

Arrested, interrogated, and targeted by the Security Police, Eleanor must summon all her strength to protect her comrades and plan her escape.

Directed by the acclaimed Paul du Toit, THE UNLIKELY SECRET AGENT is a powerful testament to the human spirit’s resilience. The play not only sheds light on apartheid’s horrors and police brutality but also celebrates the unwavering spirit of those who fought for freedom.

A captivating cast of five actors brings this important story to life. Erika Breytenbach-Marais delivers a powerful performance as Eleanor Kasrils, while the ensemble cast masterfully portrays a multitude of characters, showcasing the era’s complexities.

The talented supporting cast, including De Klerk Oelofse, Wessel Pretorius, Sanda Shandu, and Ntlanhla Kutu, adds depth and nuance to the production.

THE UNLIKELY SECRET AGENT has garnered critical acclaim, winning prestigious awards such as the 2022 Fleur Du Cap Award for Best Director for Paul du Toit and the 2023 Fleur Du Cap Award for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Play for Carlo Daniels. It was also nominated for several other Fleur Du Cap Awards and won Best Production and Best Director at the 2022 US Toyota Woordfees.

Playwright and director Paul du Toit emphasizes Eleanor Kasrils’ remarkable humanity, stating, “Her bravery was quiet, her suffering without self-pity. In the face of senseless violence, she was gentle and witty.” The play not only commemorates South Africa’s struggle for democracy but also sheds light on gender-based violence and police brutality.

SA POSITIVE NEWS spoke to Ronnie Kasrils – who had this to say about the theatrical masterpiece: “I am thrilled that the dramatic story of a young woman’s courageous battle with the South African security police in the 1960’s, is coming to the stage… You will question yourself – could you have stood up against apartheid as this slender young woman did?”

Don’t Miss This Powerful Production – THE UNLIKELY SECRET AGENT promises a captivating and thought-provoking theatrical experience.

Season Dates: 16 May to 2 June 2024.

Time of show: Wed to Fri 7pm, Sat 3pm & 7pm and Sundays 3pm

Ticket Prices: From R100 to R200 pp

By Sinenzolo Mondi – Nduku