Polished fireworks for ballerinos and plastic girls

The Last Attitude - Mamela Nyamza- photo by John Hogg_ (2)

ME AND MY PLASTIC GIRL: Mamela Nyamza in The Last Attitude. Photograph: John Hogg

Silence is a complicated medium to use in contemporary dance. As is ballet. Particularly if it is being put under a rich loupe filtered with a deep understanding of gender binaries, 19th century European frills and trills and crazy little mannerisms that have become something looked up to with God-fearing respect by loyal audiences.

Veteran dancers who both started their careers in classical ballet, close to 20 years ago, Nelisiwe Xaba and Mamela Nyamza have pooled their considerable energies, talents and inner fires to create a fantastic piece of deeply polished work that unashamedly and relentlessly rips into the vulnerable underbelly of European culture and all the pretentious nuances it represents. They do so with the kind of sophistication, savvy and wisdom that doesn’t rubbish or disrespect the genre, but instead holds it – and our society – up to a telling and incisive mirror.

The Last Attitude teases out an understanding of the role of both genders in classical favourites like Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote and La Bayadère, and in doing so, it makes biting fun of the insipid, almost ghoulish female ensemble, and the emotionally piffling but physically taxing role of the male leads, but there’s a twist in the tale that opens up questions about gender and to a lesser extent, race, most compellingly.

European classical ballet brings with it relentless rules and a sense of order which is respected by dancers across the board as the most rigorous and fundamental training. Many of them have been outspoken in describing it as the best formative structure a dancer can get. But it brings with something else, that is equally rigid: Gender binaries. Whether you are a boy or a girl, ballet has a very specific uniform and characterisation for you. If you’re neither all boy nor all girl, but have a talent and a yearning for the discipline, what do you do?

While The Last Attitude has the kind of levity and wisdom that keeps even the most restless of audience members focused, it never stoops into a sense of victimhood: Taking a reflection on the politeness of ballet and ripping it to haunting shreds, Nyamza and Xaba are effectively doing what France-based performance artist Steven Cohen did in 2000 – only they’re working from within the ballet conventions and not from a position of “undance”.

They’re working from within the safety of the formal stage and not constructing their piece as dance guerrillas, and yet, the fierceness and the antagonism toward a whole litany of tradition that they articulate with their bodies, their costumes, their plastic mannequins and their gestures is made of the same kind of dynamite as Cohen’s.

The Last Attitude is an important work, not only for Dance Umbrella, but for the genre of contemporary dance. Along the lines of what Dada Masilo is doing in her oeuvre with the questioning, twisting and stretching of great classics, this work opens doors, asks questions and throws out exclamations. And yes, it’s very technical in how it is rendered, but the mesmerising presence of both dancers is simultaneously so pointed and poised that you hesitate to breathe as it might break the work’s impeccable silences.

  • The Last Attitude is choreographed and performed by Nelisiwe Xaba and Mamela Nyamza. It features work by Boyzie Cekwana (dramaturge), Oliver Hauser (lighting design), Carlo Gibson (costumes) and music by Tchaikovsky and Minkus. It is also performed by Amy de Wet, Samkelisiwe Dlamini, Megan Gottscho, Nthabiseng Modau, Jade Morey, Chanelle Olivier, Nicole Oriana, Kemelo Sehlapelo and Celia van Tonders. It performs at the Dance Factory in Newtown, until February 28, as part of Dance Umbrella 2016. Visit danceforumsouthafrica.co.za
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Johannesburg: a dancework pock-marked by rebellion and verve

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SANGOMAS IN SEQUENCE: A still from Jessica Nupen and Sunnyboy Motau’s Rebellion & Johannesburg. Photograph courtesy Tana Hall.

A YOUNG MAN dances emotionally and with great muscularity with a giant black plastic cloud in a moment framed with footage of the inside of Ponte Tower in Berea, Johannesburg. He is physically threatened, dominated out of his context by several dancers wielding buckets – or using a bucket as a pedestal prompted into movement by the force of friction and gravity. And this quintessential play with life, death and utter fantasy encapsulates the fascinating and messy heart of Rebellion & Johannesburg, the work which opened Dance Umbrella 2016.

An exuberant piece from start to finish, R&J seems like a politically correct opener for this, the 28th Dance Umbrella. Featuring dancers from Moving Into Dance Mophatong and choreographed by local choreographer Jessica Nupen who boasts South African, British and German choreographic credentials and dance experience, it is a work which ticks all the boxes in terms of sating the sponsors, filling the auditorium and setting the festival’s buzz afire.

Aside from all the superlatives uttered in voice and gesture and the dance sequences designed to make you smile in their satisfying whirligig rhythms and collective sequencing, the work is an engagement with the messy exuberance of the city of Johannesburg. Like Sunnyboy Motau’s astonishing piece In my End is my Beginning, R&J is a deliciously inchoate reflection of a society, bringing together all the elements from corruption amongst the populace to the ever presence of death and love, and the way they interfold.

Very loosely based on the tale of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the work sees some novel eccentricities in a set of hula hoops and hangers, with a mirror ball and a series of street headlines. It features some truly beautiful video work as a backdrop, and there are echoes between the live dancers and the video sequencing which is both engaging and satisfying.

Blending township jive with a whole range of dance quotes, the piece evokes Robyn Orlin’s Beauty, but doesn’t have the aggressive and confrontational framework that lent it its edge. It also suffers from thinking that is at times so enthusiastic that the proverbial baby is lost with the bathwater: almost everything fallS into the piece’s focus, from members of the Economic Freedom Front upsetting Parliament’s proceedings, to a taxi narrative, threaded through with fairly lame jokes about corruption on the streets of the city. Shakespeare references pale into invisibility. Rebellion & Johannesburg is a work which clearly has gone through all the motions – from its title to its actuality, it has clearly been brainstormed carefully with the cast and choreographers, but what it lacks is cohesive vision.

The casualty is at times the focus of the piece, and at other times, its structure. All in all, it feels too long. But everything is forgiven when you look at how extraordinary the individual dancers are. These young men and women can render a simple two-step, a master gesture, with their agility, wit and charisma. Without question the dancers of MIDM may well redefine Dance Umbrella this year.

  • Rebellion & Johannesburg is conceptualised and choreographed by Jessica Nupen with assistance from Sunnyboy Motau and it features design by Spoek Mathambo (music composition), Anmari Honiball (costumes and set), Ed Blignaut (film projection), Lars Rubarth and Felix Striegler (sound). It is performed by Oscar Buthelezi, Tebogo Gilbert Letle, Eugene Mashiane, Thabang Mdlalose, Sunnyboy Motau, Asanda Ruda, Muzi Shili, and Thenjiwe Soxokoshe. It performs at the UJ Theatre in Auckland Park, until February 26, as part of Dance Umbrella 2016. Visit www.danceforumsouthafrica.co.za
  • See my review of In My End is My Beginning here

Welcome to hell

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COME FLY WITH ME: Hlengiwe Lushaba takes the floor in this thoughtful essay on urban homelessness. Photograph by Neo Ntsoma.

It was Mary I of Scotland who first stated “in my end is my beginning”, a comment uttered on her imminent death, and her quest for immortality. It’s a strange and yet completely fitting starting point for this great monster of a dancework, choreographed by Sunnyboy Motau, which meshes values as it draws on clear influences and sidles up to a reflection of the bitter cruelty that urban society brings the homeless. And as you drive home from the experience, every glimpse you get of a vagrant on the street pushing his monumental load of rubbish, or settling in for the night with the cold comfort of the pavement at his cheek and the hostile context of a sleeping city at his back, will ring with echoes of the work.

Blending stories with stories, movements with movements, people with one another, In my end is my beginning, evokes complex pieces such as Argentinean choreographer Constanza Macras’s magnificent Hell on Earth, which was performed in Johannesburg in 2009, or the interstices of paintings like Hieronymus Bosch’s scenes of hell in his Garden of Earthly Delights of 1480, in which it balances interruption with equilibrium and is rendered with violence and gentleness, deep sadness and immense joy, because of all the things that are going on at the same time.

Curiously, it is backgrounded with a busy urban soundscape, but also live guitar music, composed and played by Matthew MacFarlane, which lends it a gentleness that breaks very valuable ground of its own and forces the gesture and the experience into a new and as yet unexplored sense of possibility in this dance environment.

While it rests, narratively, on the bleeding bloody miasma of uncertainty that a homeless person has to face in the absence of the safety net of family, society or even police on a day to day basis, the work features choreography that will make you gasp and a veritable catastrophe of gestures that intermingle seamlessly.

Your eye is torn hither and yon as you focus on this one-legged beggar with a duck that dances, that woman who carries a boulder of plastic on her head, as she sweeps away books with her broom; that woman who, dressed in a celebratory array of plastic bags sits monumentally on an improvised throne with bubbles ejected all around her; the guy who solemnly sits at a swing, using the seat as a desk-like surface. Ultimately the stories amalgamate into a texture rather than a metanarrative and you find yourself floating on the sense of mad freefall conveyed by the context.

The stage set is dark. It’s complex, with projections of graffiti and urban wildness cast across the rude space of the Laager Theatre, with its quasi-industrial raw concrete architecture, the wire mesh fencing and the fire escape ladder central to the space all flowing in tune with the work’s dynamic. You expect to smell the odour of dank dampness and dried urine: it feels as though you, too are part of this basement-like space where companionship is sought, love found and unfound, where death is ever present and despair the backdrop to the insanity that shows its face.

With several nods in the direction of Robyn Orlin, the work does stands on its own and reflects the work of some potent young performers, as well as the well established performance methodology of the utterly magnificent Hlengiwe Lushaba, whose singing voice and witty, sometimes terrifying, but overwhelmingly dignified stage presence, is arguably the work’s binding ingredient. She speaks to God through a baking powder tin as she sings with such abandon that the real God must hear her.

Reaching closure in a most glorious yet haunting gesture of hope that is fragile and bold simultaneously, In my end sees Motau drawing from the litany of teachers he has grown under, but demonstrating he has a very clear and bold choreographic voice of his own.

  • In my end is my beginning is choreographed by Sunnyboy Motau mentored by Mark Hawkins featuring design by Wilhelm Disbergen (set and lighting) and Shadrack Keaoleboga Seodigeng (costumes). It is performed by Jaques de Silva, Thabo Kobeli, Hlengiwe Lushaba Madlala, Tshepi Mashego, Given Phumlani Mkhize, Shawn Mothupi, Sonia Thandazile Radebe and Nosiphiwo Samente, with Matthew MacFarlane on guitar. It performs at the Laager Theatre, Market Theatre complex in Newtown until February 28. Call 011 832-1641 or visit markettheatre.co.za.

Electric mix of frisky youth, ancient tragedy

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FOR THE LOVE OF A BROTHER: Nyakallo Motloung is a feisty unforgettable Antigone. Photograph by Sabelo Ndumo

Taking on Sophocles with electric abandon might not be the dream of just any drama graduate. The material is difficult, linguistically, morally and chronologically. The language is complex and bloody and some of the issues it embraces are impossible to get your head around without your heart (or belly) wanting to explode. But clearly none of this has daunted the young cast of seven – some of them in their professional debuts – in this absolutely astonishing work, which immediately raises the bar for theatre of this nature.

Just Antigone clocks in at under an hour, but the mesmerising focus and the sophisticated balance between contemporary gestures, asides to the audience and the horror of the moral double crossing of the original  plunges you into not only the internecine and devilish politics of ancient Greece, but also the tragedy of human frailty in the sight of ambition, power and one-upmanship.

The cast switch and change roles and genders as the generational tale, replete with the interjections of a chorus, unfurls, and the context of Oedipus, the father of Antigone, who tragically lands up killing his father and marrying his mother, is described with clarity, levity and wit, which never teeters into disrespect for the tradition or the circumstances. There is a resonance in this work with the meshed cultural texture that Neil Coppen achieved in his recent production of Animal Farm, blending time and idiosyncrasy in a way that hones the legibility of difficult material, but Just Antigone slips in and out of contemporary political phraseology and reference. It doesn’t hurt the work. It keeps you engaged.

Antigone (Nyakallo Motloung) is a loyal sister and a feisty challenge to her egotist uncle King Creon (Jóvan Muthray), who is at times so wrapped up in his own sense of authority that he becomes emotionally blind and quite frightening. Muthray’s delivery of this role is polished and convincing. And opposite him, Motloung is articulate and passionate. There’s a balance achieved here which is so fine and so much about trust and a sense of artistic authority that it takes your breath away.

In many respects, the unequivocal star of this work is Mlindeli Zondi – who you may have seen in Making Mandela – as the hapless Haemon, son of Creon and lover of Antigone. Torn between loyalty to his father and an understanding of his father’s deep moral flaws, not to mention his love for his girl who has dared to challenge Creon, he is left no alternative but to die at his own hand. The emotional and spiritual torsion central to this character is articulated with a great sense of finesse, never overacting, but oft overarching as a profound and intelligent catalyst to the tale.

But it hardly seems fair to isolate only three performers. The full ensemble feels dangerously beautiful in its concatenation of text, gesture and sinister nuance. Individually and collectively, they rise and soar with one another, dancing on the edge of the scripted text and expressing horror and catastrophe as they intermingle and dovetail. It’s a beautifully directed piece of work, and while the screaming which is necessary in the tale fills POPArts’s smallish tight space with harsh metallic fierceness, that might make you want to flee, the cast engages with the monumental reality of performing something as old as Sophocles with thoughtful wisdom.

Neither paralysed with respect, nor awash with hipness, under the directorial hand of Mahlatsi Mongonyana and Billy Langa, the cast offer Sophocles’s words, thoughts and reflections – and his indictments cast on the immorality and filth of society – in a palatable and fine context that is accessible and provocative, making you realise there is nothing quite as fine as a spot of Greek tragedy in central Johannesburg on a week night.

Arguably, this company of performers has what it takes to develop into the kind of repertory theatre that is capable of defining the industry. Watch each of these names: they have a great future ahead of them.

  • Just Antigone is adapted from Sophocles’s Antigone by Mahlatsi Mokgonyana and directed by Mokgonyana and Billy Langa. It is performed by Binnie Christie, Sanelisiwe Jobodwana, Campbell Jessica Meas, Nyakallo Motloung, Jovan Muthray, Star Tlali and Mlindeli Zoni at POP Arts Theatre in central Johannesburg until February 21. Visit popartcentre.co.za
  • See my review of Mlindeli Zondi’s previous performance in Gauteng here.

Olga Kern and the love for music that stays

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GOLDEN FINGERS: Russian-born pianist Olga Kern performs with the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra. Photograph by Ivan Korč, courtesy http://www.olgakern.com

SHE’S BEAUTIFUL, SHE’S blond and, on a certain physical level, she fits a Hollywood stereotype, but Moscow-born concert pianist Olga Kern is not just a pretty face. The product of “many generations” of classical music, Kern won the prestigious Texas-based Van Cliburn International Piano competition in 2001 – the first woman to do so in more than 30 years – and she is today recognised as one of her generation’s finest performers. On Saturday she will play for the Johannesburg Music Society, as part of a three-week long South African tour. Last night, she spoke from Cape Town to My View about her history, her career and her irrepressible love for music.

“After Johannesburg, I play in Pretoria, then Knysna, then Durban,” she rattles off. “On March 1, I’m accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, before I go to California, South Carolina and St Louis.”

She explains that up to 150 engagements a year all over the world for a concert pianist of her calibre is fairly commonplace. “That is why winning the Van Cliburn at 25 was really perfect for me. I was not too young, and not too old. The management and recognition that winning such competitions brings a performer are very important, but what comes with the opportunity is a big responsibility to perform consistently and frequently. If you are not up to it, it can break you.” The winner of 11 international piano competitions (including that presented by Unisa, in 1996), she acknowledges how important fitness is for the lifestyle.

But it’s not only about keeping to a tight itinerary. Kern’s ancestry is rich with music: her great-grandmother Vera Fedorovna Pushechnikova was a mezzo soprano and a great friend of the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), and he would often accompany her. But that’s not all: one generation earlier, Vera’s mother and Kern’s great-great-grandmother, Palageya Safronovna Pushechnikova was a good friend of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) and the family owns many unique letters and photographs of the composer.

But in spite of these illustrious roots, New York-based Kern, who grew up in Communist-torn Russia at the time of the Perestroika remains humble as she speaks of the magic of performing. “The first time I played with an orchestra onstage I was seven years old. The energy that comes from the audience made me realise that this was my place.” The recipient of an honorary scholarship from the President of Russia in 1996, Kern studied under Professor Sergei Dorensky at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and Professor Boris Petrushansky at the Accademia Pinistica Incontri col Maestro in Italy.

It is unthinkable, she says, for her to have pursued any career but music: “I started hearing music while I was in my mother’s belly,” she speaks of the mysterious ease with which she learned Rachmaninoff’s notoriously difficult third concerto. “My mother told me she was  always playing this work when she was pregnant with me.”

She, in turn, used to play Schubert and Brahms whilst she was pregnant with her now 16-year-old son, Vladislav, who has just won the recital section of the Tureck International Bach Competition for young pianists. “Today, Schubert and Brahms are his favourite composers. That love for music stays.”

Currently in the process of launching a music competition in her own name, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kern speaks of the thrill of finding “rising stars”. “Winning the Olga Kern award will come with lots of opportunities for engagements and recordings,” she says. She will serve as artistic director of the competition and president of its jury.

Kern, with her brother, the trumpeter, conductor and composer Vladimir, has set up the Aspiration Foundation, to assist young concert performers financially and artistically with instruments and even clothes for concert performance. “A young performer needs to wear something extraordinary onstage; many can’t afford to,” she says.

But speaking of dresses, she considers what it means to her, to be a top woman concert pianist, given that the piano is historically considered “male”.

“I was taught how to make a big, round sound on this huge grand instrument,” she says, acknowledging that it takes great physical fitness and emotional robustness to make the piano sing, and  generally the world of concert pianists is still traditionally a man’s terrain, but she ponders a moment and reconsiders: “Whilst I was at the school and the conservatory, it was not about being a man or a woman that fed my love for the instrument.

“But being a woman concert pianist comes with its own challenges. My suitcase is heavier and bigger than that of any man in my job,” she speaks of her New York dress designer and how she selects her gowns depending on the music she will play. “The big gowns are very heavy. But, challenges aside, I am so lucky I do this. If you love what you do, everything is equal.”

Her current SA tour is arguably the dying wish of music impresario Schalk Visser. “He asked me to do an extended South African tour in February this year; it took a bit of haggling for us to agree on three weeks, not more. But sadly Schalk passed away suddenly in December.” Kern has dedicated her Johannesburg concert to the memory of Visser. “He was such an important person for me and for many other artists,” she said.

Digressing from her usual repertoire of traditional Russian music, for her Johannesburg concert, Kern plays Classic and Romantic pieces, including one contemporary Russian piece, by Boris Frenksteyn that was composed for her.

“I begin with several Scarlatti sonatas which I first heard in a life-changing performance when I was eight years old. The pianist was the great Vladimir Horowitz. It was in Moscow and my grandfather had one extra ticket and he asked me to come with.”

She’s played Schumann’s Kinderzenen – which features in the recital’s second half  – “since my son was a baby. The work offers such a moment of peace.”

The recital is long, she says, but “so exciting.”

  • Olga Kern’s concert at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown is on February 20, for the Johannesburg Music Society. Visit www.jms.org.za for further details.

Squeak like a mouse, roar like a lion

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WHAT WOULD YOU do if you discovered a great big cuddly lion with a penchant for roaring loudly at times of great emotion, in your local municipal library? This fabulous little yarn created by Michelle Knudsen and brought to musical life onstage under the directorial hand of Francois Theron debuts at the National Children’s Theatre as its current touring production, will set many a junior primary school child alight with the magic that one can find all quietly tucked into the books of the library.

Designed for a three-to-six year old audience, the work is bold, with clear-to-understand songs and a narrative to make you laugh with its sheer solemn sense of possibility. Showcasing siblings Tlotlego, Tlhopilwe and Tlholego Mabitsi as Kevin, Michelle and Jenny respectively, the three young library users who make friends with this great big somewhat bewildered beastie (Gamelihle Bovana), the work is supported by an utterly ingenious set by Stan Knight, which lends itself to simply casting library mystique over the context of the NCT’s stage in Parktown as well as any regular classroom in any primary school.

And supported by strict rule-keeper librarians Mr McBee (Kabelo Lethoba) and Miss Merriweather (Kayli ‘Elit Smith), who are strident, competent and shrill in their rule abiding way, as grown ups should be, if you’re three years old, the work enjoys the catalyst of the storytelling lady, played by Veronique Mensah, and the inimitable lion himself. It’s a fabulous foil for snippets of tales from the Aesop’s fable involving a lion and a mouse, to C S Lewis’s The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, not to mention many an angry, or hungry or naughty lion that crops up in children’s literature.

While teetering very slightly towards the text heavy before interval, the work is sprinkled lovingly with song and dance, but it is Bovana’s characterisation of this great and gentle, curious and respectful, but by and large wordless king of the jungle with such humanity and empathy that points irrevocably to the moral values caught in the upper reaches of this play.

What you come away with is not only an appreciation that some rules can be bent under specific circumstances, and that knowing why rules exist is a tremendous stimulus for being able to honour them, but even more than that, you in the audience are left reflecting on the point of view of the outsider – he may be a lion, but he may also be a child with different physical needs, or a child who doesn’t speak the language, or a newcomer. He needs to be embraced.

And more than all of this is the celebration of the humble institution of the library. It’s certainly something that needs this society’s attention. Rather urgently.

  • Library Lion based on the eponymous 2006 book by Michelle Knudsen, is adapted for stage by Eli Bijaoui and directed by Francois Theron, with design by Stan Knight (set), Jane Gosnell (lighting), Sarah Roberts (costumes), Drew Rienstra (music direction) and Nicol Sheraton (choreography). It is performed by Gamelihle Bovana, Kabelo Lethoba, Veronique Mensah and Kayli ‘Elit Smith and a child cast comprising Tlotlego, Tlhopilwe and Tlholego Mabitsi, as the touring production of the National Children’s Theatre, until February 28. It is touring to primary schools in Gauteng and performs at the NCT in Parktown on Saturdays. Call 011 484 1584 or visit http://www.nationalchildrenstheatre.org.za

The perfect pleasure of Tobacco

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TAKING YOUR BREATH AWAY: Andrew Buckland is the hapless yet powerful Ivan. Photograph courtesy http://www.netwerk24.com

AS HE WALKS onstage, you know you are in safe hands, and that the evening will not only be completely impeccable, but that it will take your heart and wring it out in a way that you won’t readily forget. Arguably the single play that defined the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2014, Tobacco, and the harmful effects thereof is finally at the Market Theatre, and it’s no less of an utterly perfect theatre experience than it was two years ago.

Ivan (Andrew Buckland) is a nervous man who has been asked by his Wife (Toni Morkel) to do a public talk for charity. And premised on this simple do-gooder idea, there evolves a most extraordinary tale of love and hate, claustrophobia and the feathers of a golden eagle, the discomfort of a picnic with 20 children and the tenderness of a couple who know each other well – and everything in between.

A fine and wild monster of a text crafted by William Harding, Tobacco rests on the almost eponymous Anton Chekhov play of 1886 – or, rather than resting on it, it uses the Chekhov as a quirky starting point. With the aid of an incredibly clever set, comprising a very special purpose-made lectern, a wooden box and an old record player, as well as a pair of plastic noses, the work takes astonishing and brave leaps into the terrain of owls and pussy cats, Mozart and bizarre metaphors that smash grammar and logic aside, yielding an experience which takes you on a surreal and bizarre journey through not only tobacco and its harmful effects, but a whole life of complicated domesticity that is haunting in its brilliance.

Buckland and Morkel together articulate a level of clowning sophistication which makes you remember what perfect theatre is all about. With authoritative focus, they make you laugh at something tragic, and cry at something ridiculous: armed only with their bodies and their skill they invest poignancy into clumsiness and incredible poetry into a hen-pecked middle-aged man in his underpants with a necktie around his sweaty head.

But more than all of this Tobacco boasts a structure that evokes a scored piece of choral music. Tobacco is present everywhere, but it appears like a refrain in a text that is about anything but tobacco. The language has a musicality to it and a flow which is unstoppable, building physical theatre into a momentum that will keep you at the edge of your emotion, throughout.

Under the directorial hand of Sylvaine Strike, this is a remarkable play, beautifully cast and put together with such love and laughter that it sings. If you choose to have one theatre experience in your whole life, make it this one.

  • Tobacco, and the harmful effects thereof based on Anton Chekhov’s one act play, On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco is adapted by William Harding and directed by Sylvaine Strike. It features design by Chen Nakar (set) and Sylvaine Strike assisted by Ali Madiga (lighting) and is performed by Andrew Buckland and Toni Morkel, in the Barney Simon Theatre, Market Theatre complex in Newtown until March 6. Call 011 832 1641 or visit http://www.markettheate.co.za
  • See my review of this play from the Grahamstown Festival in 2014 here.