Woordfees: Asem

March 5, 2018

Hierdie stuk, geskryf deur Reza de Wet en vertaal deur Marthinus Basson, wat ook die regie behartig, gryp jou vas en weier om te laat los. Sien dit nog vandag by die HB Thomteater as deel van die US Woordfees. 


A mother and her sickly daughter are sheltering in a barn. A wounded General lies near them in fitful, feverish sleep. The scene is a dark night during the South African War, and a definite evil seems to be about to pounce. In Asem by Reza de Wet, translated and directed by Marthinus Basson, the predator circles its prey slowly but inexorably, and the resulting spectacle is absolutely enthralling. 


Perfectly-cast and clearly revelling in the role of the domineering mother, Antoinette Kellerman delivers a truly stellar performance. On the night this reviewer watched the play, the veteran actor delivered a stirring speech over a blaring fire alarm as if the latter’s decibel count was entirely irrelevant (which, in fact, it turned out to be, thanks to Kellerman’s superior vocal power). The entire cast had to compete with the lamentably ill-behaved audience during this performance, it must be said, and they deserve our undying admiration for it.

Tinarie van Wyk Loots’s undeniable skill is on full display here as she moves between fading flower and rapt predator. Edwin van der Walt is truly impressive as the young soldier who has no idea how far he’s in over his head, and his interactions with Van Wyk Loots and Kellerman are compelling. Stian Bam’s ailing General is suitably pitiable, emitting the odd groan and fevered exclamation. 


This is a powerful, potent production that won’t let you go once you’ve seen it.

 

Asem is part of the US Woordfees and can be seen at the HB Thom Theatre. There is one more performance on the 5th of March. Tickets are available at Computicket.

 

 

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