Theatre at the festival

2010-05-29 06:46

With 15 theatre productions on the Main festival programme, and more than 350 shows on the bulging Fringe, festival-goers are spoilt for choice. Here are our picks:

» Lara Foot Newton’s Karoo Moose – this evocative, inspirational, multi-award-winning play is a must-see. Also look out for Womb Tide.

» American Rhodessa Jones’ Big Butt Girls, Hard Headed Woman is an account of women behind bars and draws on personal experience.

» Check out Rivonia Trial, about the court case that led to the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and others, written by Aubrey Sekhabi, Mandla Dube and Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom. Craig Higginson’s psych drama The Girl in the Yellow Dress is another likely winner.

» If you missed Songs of Migration, featuring Bra Hugh Masekela and Sibongile Khumalo, join them on this odyssey into the country’s rich but fraught musical heritage.

» Lovers of the classics will appreciate an unusual UK-SA co-production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and a three-man interpretation of Richard III. Ireland’s Samuel Beckett supremo Conor Lovett returns – this time with the trilogy Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable. And then there’s Man of La Mancha, Dale Wasserman’s contemporary take on Don Quixote.

» Janni Younge, the 2010 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre, is a puppetry whiz who incorporates shadow projections, movement and drama in her adult fairytales. Her Ouroboros is sure to be a festival highlight. Magnet Theatre’s world premiere of Inxeba Lomphili (The Wound of a Healer) promises to be an innovative multimedia revelation. In a similar vein is Neil Coppen’s Tree Boy, which uses live performance, shadow puppetry and stop­motion and digital animation. Take in Coppen’s acclaimed Tin Bucket Drum too.

» Directed by brilliant new talent Zinzi Princess Mhlongo, 4.48 Psychosis is Sarah Kane’s jarring but ­compelling account of a woman locked in a psychiatric hospital. Other productions with a strong female sensibility, the Zimbabwe/UK/Malawi/SA co-production Tariro and the physical theatre collaboration Washa Mollo, are also worth seeing.

» Productions themed on the Beautiful Game include The Football Diaries, a solo performance by Australian/Sri Lankan footballer Ahilan Ratnamohan, about a world in which dreams clash with reality. The African premiere of Football Football sees an international cast melding dance, theatre, video and music.

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