Find the perfect dress for every occasion...
DIRECTOR: Sylvaine Strike
PERFORMER: Lionel Newton
VENUE: Auto&General Theatre on the Square
RATING: 4 stars (out of 5)
Diane de Beer
The thread might not be that obvious but greed is something that seems so prevalent from the beginning of time and runs through the three stories Newton so gloriously shares with his audience.
He is an extraordinary actor and this particular solo venture puts his abilities on display as he rattles and shakes between characters coloured with different shades and subtleties, all enhanced by his performance.
It starts off with the amazing Robert Browning’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin and you have to pay close attention to quickly step into the rhythms and rhymes of the poet and the performance. But when you do, the Pied Piper easily grabs you by the hand and whisks you off to a land where people easily forgot their promises, held on to their money and lost everything in the process.
Then there’s a rude awakening as astute playwright Nick Warren pulls you kicking and screaming into the here and now where people have forgotten their humanity. On all sides of the spectrum, it’s each grabbing his own, nothing has changed, it simply changes hands. This as the old and the new tricks of the trade raid the pockets of those who are not paying attention or are simply trying to survive.
Then Newton steps out with his own writing in Jasmine’s Jewel and gives us a slice of local that’s just so lekker you could easily wallow in the fun of it and forget that there are bigger things at play. That’s the thing about the collection, it’s the complexity of the content and the performance that tickles the mind and keeps you riveted. He displays his yen both for creating characters that stretch the imagination and playing them with a subtlety and showmanship that seduces those watching.
He has rejigged the content of the programme he presented at Grahamstown and this is a much better fit with Strike smoothing out all the rough edges.
Rats was part of the Arts Alive theatre contribution and will run for a longer season at The Market Theatre from the beginning of next year.