Taut prison-cell drama

2009-11-05 00:00

Theatre review

Kiss of the Spider Woman

Catalina Theatre

KISS of the Spider Woman is one of the theatrical triumphs of the year in KwaZulu-Natal and if you haven’t yet booked your seats to see it at the Catalina Theatre in Durban, then do so now.

Written by Argentine Manuel Puig, the play is directed by Clare Mortimer and stars Darren King as the tragic and flamboyant Luis Molina and Loyiso Macdonald as political prisoner, Valentin Arregui.

These two very different men find themselves sharing a Brazilian prison cell — Molina because he is gay and Valentin for his leftist views.

Each man finds the other baffling. Molina, who longs for nothing more than to be loved and to love and care for a man in return, cannot understand Valentin’s commitment to his political cause and his decision to ­sacrifice close relationships to it. ­Valentin, meanwhile, cannot understand Molina’s sexuality or his desire to be — in his view — subjugated by another man.

Despite their differences, however, an unlikely friendship develops ­between them, fuelled in part by Molina’s generous sharing of gifts brought to him by his ailing mother and his ability to tell stories, one of which is based on the plot of one of his favourite films, a wartime romantic Nazi thriller.

Mortimer’s small but perfectly formed set highlights the confined space of the cell and the claustrophobia and tensions that it can induce, adding to the appeal of this mesmerising drama.

Kiss of the Spider Woman is, without question, one of the best pieces of theatre I have seen this year. Don’t miss it.

• Kiss of the Spider Woman runs at the Catalina Theatre until ­November 15. Show times: ­Thursday and Friday at 8 pm, ­Saturday at 5 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm and 6 pm. Tickets R75 (R50 concessions) from 031 305 6889.

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