Woordfees: Beloofde Land / Promised Land

March 11, 2018

Hierdie produksie gebruik poppespel en verskeie ander genres om die internasionale migrantekrisis te takel. Die stuk is deel van die US Woordfees, en kaartjies kan by Computicket of by die deur gekoop word.

 

The international migrant crisis forms the thematic basis of this show by The Loft Puppet Company. The production, directed by Oliver James Hymans, uses music, clowning, miming, magic, and puppetry to tell the story of a young boy who is separated from his mother during a time of conflict and has to make his way to sanctuary.

 

It’s admirable that this production chose such a pressing issue as its focus, but, sadly, the show is severely hampered by its own unwieldy nature. The surfeit of genres presented on the same stage causes immediate problems, and the fact that some of these elements aren’t executed very well doesn’t help matters at all. Some of the puppets are confounding despite their aesthetic qualities. How deep does the little boy have to dive before he meets a school of angler fish? Do angler fish even swim in schools? The presence of an animal mask in one particular scene remains unexplained.  The music, while intriguing, was marred by an untuned guitar throughout most of the performance attended by this reviewer; the brief moments of mime are bewildering, and the clowning (which includes a lot of cringeworthy audience participation) does not, perhaps, have the effect the creators had in mind. Using a bumbling clown to represent the Western world’s hapless attempts at humanitarian intervention in conflict-stricken areas may not be the worst idea ever, but having that clown spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get audience members to take his picture or do a Mexican wave with him definitely distracts from the seriousness of the migrant crisis, and not in a satirical way.

The jellyfish and whale scenes are intriguing, as is the early interaction between the little boy and his mother, but these moments are few and far between. A properly integrated utilisation of the Abonwabisi Brothers and their music could have made for a different show altogether, as a more focused approach to narrative and storytelling would certainly have benefited this production. 

 

Beloofde Land / Promised Land is part of the US Woordfees and can be seen on the 11th of March. Tickets are available through Computicket or at the door.

 

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