Review: Scratch Heather Livesey


Harri and Smyth seem to be polar opposites. Harri likes to stay put, while Smyth likes to wander. While Harri seems to have come to terms with the reality and results of forgetting, Smyth holds on desperately to her memories through the acts of journaling and avoiding sleep. The characters have a common preference for personifying their favourite objects: Harri has a toaster called Phil, and Smyth has a bicycle called Nelly. The plot of Scratch is circular and reminiscent of the works of Fugard in that it ends in more or less the same place that it started: the location is exactly the same, but there is evidence of Harri's internalisation of the lessons learnt through his time spent with Smyth – that together they formed some kind of whole. 

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Review: My-Self Jo-Ann McQuirk


My-Self is a complex performance of optical illusion, a meditation on the self that incorporates dance and gesture. The production addresses three main ideas, which are differentiated through subtle changes in the styles of the movement: “Who am I?”, “Looking for Myself”, and “Others like Me”.

At the start, a small beam of torchlight in the darkness is shone through a magnifying glass and then refracted using mirrors of varying sizes. Some mirrors are handheld, others are transported across the space on wheels due to their size. Although a harrowing experience for some, it is unique for the audience to be included in a performance through the use of the reflections provided by continuously revolving mirrors. Double entendres abound through reflection: we reflect on our reflections, and reflect on the lyrics of the songs and the words of the performers. We are left questioning the novelty of being ourselves, and whether it is a novelty at all.

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Review: Kiu Mduduzi Nhlapo


Kiu is a physical performance created by Mduduzi Nhlapo. The performance is 45 minutes long and depicts a dystopian world with a thirsty society, “Kiu” being the Swahili word for “thirst”. The story follows two characters, a man and a woman, as they transition from sanity to dysfunctionality and madness. Kiu expertly tells the story of people in a desperate situation, eliciting surprise and curiosity from the audience.
Kiu relies on the movement of the actors for the entirety for the play, as dialogue is used only when needed. Creating a performance that relies heavily on choreography and the synchronisation of the performers is very difficult to pull off, but the creator and the performers have put together a performance so inspiring and expertly executed that it is poetry in motion.

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Review: Mildred Kegan Gaspar


A physical theatre piece by Kegan Gasper, Mildred aims to send shivers down your spine. Running for just less than 45 minutes, the play includes elements of sex, violence, mental breakdowns, murder, and adultery.

Mildred, who the play gravitates around, is a mother and wife who snaps due to the death of her daughter and her husband’s constant infidelity. Through her rage at her husband, she murders each of his lovers and thoroughly enjoys it, yet this ultimately leads to her destruction.

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Review: The Second Chapter of Jane Doe, Pieter Human


In the beginning there is darkness on stage, except for two spotlights on either side of a table that represents the only stability in the world which Jane Doe inhabits. A song plays on a loop, hinting at the madness to follow. The show starts with an introduction to the eponymous character through speech and movement. The Second Chapter of Jane Doe is a physical theatre piece that just doesn’t quite achieve what it hopes to.

A total of five actresses play Jane Doe and we are never sure who the real Jane Doe is, or if she exists at all. Each actress portrays a different aspect of Jane Doe – and perhaps a different neurosis. Chaos is cleverly crafted through the simultaneous descriptions of Jane Doe, and there are only a few facts we can be certain of: Jane Doe was born on 11 September, she is a Virgo, and she is afraid of 10 July. The reason for this fear is revealed later in the play and is shown to have resulted in her madness. 
Despite this interesting mystery, the play unfortunately has a number of downsides: the carnivalesque music drowns out the dialogue in places, the larger than life psychiatrist has far too many costume changes, and the narrative on mental illness becomes preachy when it isn't relying on motifs from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

Read more: Review: The Second Chapter of Jane Doe, Pieter Human

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