My review of: THE EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS OF ORCA THE GOLDFISH.

Written by  David Tristan

Directed by  Nigel Sweet

Starring James Skilton and Julie Summers.

April 14, 15,16, 21@ 8pm, 22@ 8pm, 23 @ 6:30pm.

I arrive early at The Masque Theatre in Muizenberg. I order a glass of white, pop a block of ice in it, pick it up, turn around and take in my surroundings. The foyer is old and cosy, comforting and inviting.

I am the youngest here by about 50 years, the blackest too. I also notice that I seem to be one of maybe 5 South Africans here to see The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca the goldfish. The bell has rung.

The stage is set. A lounge: a couch, a chair a television, a work desk, a telephone and a basket of fruit on one table and then Orca the goldfish, in a bowl, on another table. Simple, busy, but spacious, a home.

The lights go down, and come up on Henry, a middle-aged, frumpy British man. I wait, expecting ‘The norm’, an averagely comfortable, averagely sexist, averagely racist, averagely average man telling an average story.

Alice,  his wife, cleans furiously in the background, cleaning up after Henry. She nags and slaves away at home, ordinary and  average, or maybe not.

At first, I was horrified. This is not the type of theatre a black, pro-African, South African woman wants to be watching. I considered walking out. Just then the story moves into surrealism, dream, hope, wishes and fantasies. I am hooked. The audience is caught on the end of the line that is real life, honesty, fantasy, and change.

The characters were so wonderfully real. They were brave and crass and rude and curious. The combination brought the audience to fits of laughter. We were bent in half slapping our knees, wiping the tears from our faces, gasping for air. Or at least, I was.

A whole hour passed with no set change and only one costume change. We travelled to Kenya, to France, to America and dabbled in sexual fantasies and sex tourism. The text was brutal, brilliant and unashamedly British. The acting was brilliantly awkward and playful.  James Skilton and Julie Summers brought their characters alive and encouraged the audience to laugh at them and their quiet ordinary life filled with naive ideas and African stereotypes, filled with big dreams and hopes of better, sexier things.

The acting was brilliantly awkward and playful.  James Skilton and Julie Summers brought their characters alive and encouraged the audience to laugh at them and their quiet ordinary life filled with naive ideas and African stereotypes, filled with big dreams and hopes of better, sexier things.

It was racist and sexist, and silly and very white, but it was also honest and opened a space for the audience to understand the complex simplicity of some lifestyles.It was so refreshing to watch theatre that was political without stating that it was political, honest without hurting anyone, brave without being cringe-worthy and funny without being nasty.

Catch The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca the goldfish before the run comes to an end at The Masque Theatre in Muizenberg. A seemingly boring marriage worth making time for.

 

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