Outstanding performances in ‘Duet for One’

2010-09-10 00:00

REVIEW: Duet for One

Playhouse Loft Theatre



HOW do you cope with loss when the very thing you have lost is what defines you and makes your soul sing?

In KickstArt Theatre Company’s excellent new dramatic offering, Duet for One, Stephanie Abra­hams­, a talented violinist, suddenly finds herself unable to play because she has multiple sclerosis.

The degenerative disease is slowly robbing Abrahams of her ability to function — not just as a person, but as a creative soul. Depressed, angry and bitter, she lashes out at the world and at her therapist, Dr Alfred Feldmann.

The über talented Clare Mortimer (Wit, From My Point of View, Othello) takes on the role of Abrahams­, and her performance is nothing short of breathtaking. She is by turns bitingly sarcastic, aloof, bitter, cynical — and in one very powerful scene an emotional wreck.

Not once, however, does she cross the line into melodrama. Rather, it’s a controlled performance which keeps the audience on an emotional rollercoaster.

Starring opposite her is veteran actor Michael Richard (who was in Durban last year with My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m in Therapy at the Catalina Theatre), who gives a masterful performance as Feldmann.

He is a warm, empathetic man, even though he tries to keep this side of himself hidden from his patients.

The scene in which he berates Abrahams for her callous and self-destructive behaviour was particularly outstanding.

The inspiration for Tom Kempinski’s play came from the life of famed cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and her relationship with her husband, conductor Daniel­ Barenboim.

In this production Steven Stead’s direction keeps the performances tight, while Greg King’s set provides a simple, but elegant, backdrop to the action on stage.

Duet For One is quite simply superb theatre. I highly recommend that you get yourself tickets to see it at the Loft Theatre in Durban or at the Witness Hilton Arts Festival next weekend.

• Duet For One can be seen at 7.30 pm today and tomorrow, at 2.30 pm tomorrow and at 6 pm on Sunday. Tickets are R100 (R80 for pensioners and students) from Computicket.

Booking for the Witness Hilton Arts festival is also open. Programmes are available at selected Spar stores, bookshops, theatre foyers and tourism information offices. For more information or a full programme and booking kit visit www.hiltonfestival.co.za or phone 033 383 0126.

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