For the main part, this glimpse of life in an anonymous South African township is unremittingly harrowing and hardly a show the country's tourist board will be rushing to promote.

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Original main credits included Rolisizwe Nikiwe (Creative director), Beatmaker (Musical director), Neil Mc Carthy (Head Writer), Andre Odendaal, Heather Gordon, and Ziggy Hofmeyr (Directors), Anthony Shaw (Producer), Anthony Akerman (Script Editor & Writer), Rosalind Butler, and Richard Beynon (Storyliners) as well as Makgano Mamabolo, Lodi Matsetela, Justine Loots, and Zamo Mkhwanazi (Writers).

Before he shot to prominence as the "little gangster" and inadvertent child-snatcher in the Oscar-winning Tsotsi, Presley Chweneyagae had written his own version of life in a South African township.

A self-inflicted abortion and a gory killing by a hideously threatening hit man add to the grisly bleakness, pulverising one's emotions.

It's a punishing event, not one for the faint-hearted.

There's an amusing moment in Township Stories when, spooling back to an earlier point in this web of interconnected tales, characters run busily around in backwards motion, seamlessly resetting the stage.

Another flash of light relief comes in the touching camaraderie between a couple of old mates, just two among many hopeless drunkards drowning their sorrows in a shebeen.

Where some were unconvinced by the white director Gavin Hood's sympathetic portrayal of the thug-turned-good ("The reality," pointed out one journalist on the Sowetan newspaper, "is that the thug never cries"), Chweneyagae's Township Stories pulls no punches, interweaving tales of everyday survival, love and sex with scenes of domestic violence, rape, alcohol abuse and murder.

The collection of scenes set in the bustling shacks and smoky shebeens grew out of acting workshops held in 2003 by Chweneyagae's drama teacher Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom.

By the end of Township Stories there are 10 pieces of such memorabilia dangling across the stage.

Woven together by Presley Chweneyagae (who starred as the gang leader in Tsotsi), with co-writer and director Paul Grootboom, Township Stories draws together several strands to form the network of a thriller.

The result is a dark and disturbing picture of life in an anonymous post-apartheid South African township, evoked in Declan Randall's simple, versatile set.