It’s where he feels he needs to be, says stage supremo Andrew Buckland about his latest performance in Crazy in Love. The piece opened last night at The Market’s Barney Simon Theatre and runs until April 12.
“Powerful, passionate and desperate” is how the show is being described – after winning on the festival fringe circuit in South Africa as well as in Amsterdam where they were part of an international fringe festival.
This is the fourth work created by the “open door collective” called A Conspiracy of Clowns. Others for this much-praised company include Pictures of You (multi-Fleur du Cap winner and top-selling 2009 theatre production on the National Arts Festival Fringe), Kardiavale (the cult cabaret clown noir show from 2011), and Benchmarks (first presented in 2011 on the main of the National Arts Festival and then at Out the Box where it won a Handspring Puppet Company Award).
Crazy in Love is the tragicomic story of a father-daughter search for a missing bride and mother. It was devised and is performed by the pairing of Buckland and Liezl de Kock under the direction of Rob Murray, with design by Jayne Batzofin, all part of the collective.
De Kock and Van Vuuren were students of Buckland’s and the stage affinity between him and his stage partner was first discovered in 2012 when creating Through Blue for Ubom!
Their performance is described as follows: When the independent and free-spirited Leon (Buckland) is abandoned at the altar by his bride-to-be, he is left literally holding the baby. From his grief comes a solemn resolve: to travel the country with his infant daughter, Ginny (De Kock), until he finds his lost love and pieces his family back together.
“It’s about obsessive love,” says Buckland who explains that he is doing a slow dance back onto stage. “I am still involved at the university (Rhodes, where he has been for the past few decades). He’s not surprised to be playing with and being directed by former students and likes taking a step back and being allowed to be creative. That’s really how he likes to be most of all – at play.
He has done the mentoring and supervision side, which he enjoyed and found rewarding at the time, but this is where he belongs right now.
He delights in this particular clown partnership because of its collaborative nature and the responsive exchange of the work together. “I’m having fun because we’re playing,” says the actor who has been having overwhelming success with his strong return to the stage these past few years.
Most recently he was praised for his performance in the Baxter’s Blue/Orange and anyone who witnessed his performance in Sylvaine Strike’s Tobacco, and the Harmful Effects Thereof at last year’s National Arts Festival will demand that the production tour not only to the Amsterdam Fringe Festival later this year, but also to the rest of the country. It is extraordinary theatre which surprised even those of us who know what Buckland is capable of.
Crazy in Love has created significant impression on the fringe festival circuit, where it won the Best International Production at the 2014 Amsterdam Fringe Festival and the Standard Bank Ovation Award at the 2013 National Arts Festival Fringe. It has also been a top seller around the country.
“I was tickled by the curiosity response in Amsterdam,” says Buckland. “Narrative seems to be a bit passé in Europe at the moment,” he explains, while we have always been strong on storytelling. It’s the creative way we tell our stories that gives local theatre such punch. “It’s our innovative storytelling that tweaks the interest,” he says.
• Crazy for Love is not suitable for children and is rated 16 for violence and language. The performance runs for 65 minutes with no interval. Tickets are available at Computicket. The quality of the work has been amply reflected by the public and critical response as the show travels between festivals and cities.