Stage show shrugs off cinematic shadow

2010-04-26 08:21

CLOSER, the theatrical production now on at the Market Theatre, comes after the award-winning 2004 film version of Patrick ­Marber’s play.

That can be a problem for ­audiences and sometimes even the actors.

Audiences who might have ­fallen in love with the cinematic version of the production –­featuring Jude Law, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts and Natalie ­Portman – might want the stage play to match what they ­remember about the movie.

That’s an unrealistic and ­unfair expectation because ­director Sello Maake Ka Ncube has to provide a platform for his four actors to make their own magic.

Fezile Mpela, Lindiwe ­Matshikiza, Siyabonga Radebe and Linda Sokhulu have a basic though demanding script to work with.

It’s made up of a series of ­one-on-one scenes with the cast alternating to explore the politics of romantic love and its related trials.

Because the set is simple, the cast is challenged to be ­exceptional; and for a more ­relevant context, the play is set in Durban.

Trust, betrayal and confusion are explored with enough smarts to make this production worth the trouble.

It is also the brutality of sex as a weapon that gives the story its angst. But it doesn’t go so far as to lose its sense of the erotic.

Once the audience can shake off the shadow of the cinematic ­version, Ka Ncube’s ­interpretation will prove just as satisfying to watch. – Percy ­Mabandu

- Closer is on at The Laager ­Theatre at the Market Theatre until May 9. Book at Computicket

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