Review

Vaslav, revisited

Originally published in Cue.

It’s only the first night of Festival and it’s already bitterly cold. “Do you mind if we do this outside? I’m dying for a cigarette,” Godfrey Johnson asks apologetically before ushering us out the side door of this bowls club turned performance venue.

“You know,” he says, lighting the cigarette, “it feels like just the other day. Isn’t that bizarre?” It’s been a year since I last interviewed him, and the energetic cabaret performer gets straight into it.

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Epoch fails to live up to promise

Originally published in Cue.

Every year at the Student Theatre Festival, a young drama student is pulled from the pack and awarded Most Promising Student Director. Along with R15000 towards producing an original work, the director is given a slot on the Fringe programme the next year to perform it in.

Last year’s winner, director of UCT’s Behind Every Yawn There Is A Silent Shout, Mira Sydow, has returned this year with Epoch, a visually striking play about the human psyche that just simply fails to cohere into a compelling story.

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Solo will break your heart

Originally published in Cue.

The Rhodes University production at the Student Theatre Festival never fails to draw a crowd. Solo,which follows a mother’s journey to retrieve her drowned daughter, opened to a sold-out house.

The directorial debut of master’s student Hannah Lax stars Fleur du Cap-winning Liezl de Kock as the mother, whose anguish at the death of her child is breathtaking.

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The system or the prisoner: who is the criminal?

Originally published in Cue.

The Antidote’s blurb in the official programme gives only the slightest hint of the play’s plot and themes. The strange mix of sentence fragments and wordplay reads like something a beat poet wrote while on an acid trip.

But don’t let the convoluted description dissuade you from watching this intense piece of theatre from the Durban University of Technology.

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Wits provides political opening to Student Theatre Fest

Originally published in Cue.

Opening the annual Student Theatre Festival for the second year in a row, the University of the Witwatersrand brings a political piece that played to a packed crowd at the Rehearsal Room yesterday. Dedicated to South African domestic workers, Maid in Mzansi is relevant and powerful.

The cast of seven workshopped the play with their director, Roberto Queiroz. The script is based on interviews with their own domestic workers, a personal touch that works well to prevent the piece from straying into a depiction of binary good and evil, and allows for a sensitive look at all the characters. Although some dialogue is remarkably unsubtle, the solid cast performance and mature satire carry the play.

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Speaking the unspoken

Originally published in Cue.

Filled with the testimony of perpetrators, victims and witnesses of the xenophobic attacks that rocked the nation in May 2008, The Line has already been nominated for five Naledi Awards. Writer and director Gina Shmukler created the piece from research for her Masters in Drama at Wits University.

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