HIFA 2010 – day 2

28 04 2010

Jutro - James Cuningham and Keren Tahor

Jutro is a South African production – a story set in World War II Poland. A bomb strikes a cabaret club and the manager and cabaret singer are trapped (temporarily). Starring Israeli South African Keren Tahor as Mina the cabaret singer who dreams of fame in the USA and James Cuningham as the manager it was a well acted comedy-drama with a clever set. “Jutro” is Polish for tomorrow.

Faster Than Light Dance Company

The young German Faster Than Light Dance Company put on a display of mixed contemporary dance. Not all of it appealed to me but the piece de resistance was the last piece set to Ravel’s Bolero that went down well with the audience. A couple of other pieces had imaginative choreography too that even I could appreciate!

I did wonder half way through the South African production of Hero why I was watching it. It was a less than subtle style of acting that I see is called “physical theatre” in the programme. It was difficult to know who the play was directed at and certainly the children sitting next to me were not in hysterics. Still, I had to admire Craig Morris’s pure energy as he did all his own sound effects and stunts and by the end of it I was sufficiently won over to the story line of a childhood fantasy superhero who never really grows up to say I would recommend it. Craig was a HIFA 2 years ago with Blood Orange, another piece of physical theatre based on a South African book. I preferred Blood Orange.

Hero - a character gets suicidal

Olga Domnina is a Russian pianist with and impressive musical pedigree. I must admit that although I enjoy classical music I cannot always appreciate when I am listening to something good. However even I could understand that I was hearing something impressive in her Rachmaninov sonata No. 2 and my friend Caro (who does know what she is talking about) confirmed that it was virtuoso playing. A pity the light was so bad in the recital room where she was playing – the photo is not good. It’s also an example of where not to sit to get pianist photos!

Olga Domnina playing Rachmaninov Sonata No. 2

Last on my list for today was a play originally called Black Jesus (they changed the name to something else from what was on the progamme – I have no idea why but that’s artists for you). Excellent theatre by expat/diasporan Zimbabweans living in the UK it is a play about a play that they want to bring to Zimbabwe which explores the relationship between a prisoner accused of committing atrocities in the run up to the 2008 election, a government official and a representative of a “Truth and Justice Commission” set in a future Zimbabwe. Clever stuff with more than an occasional swipe at the current regime. At the end they asked the audience how they might change or improve on the play. I thought they should leave it as it is.

Black Jesus (or whatever it was called)



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