Peter Brook's latest London visit is already a complete sell-out on his name alone, although it's hardly earth-shattering stuff.
Brook has long been fêted for his commitment to telling the story simply and effectively. Here, his cast of three Afro-Frenchmen (one of whom bears an unsettling likeness to reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry) and a Black British woman do that all right, but the evening is charming rather than exciting.
Can Themba's story, set in the South African township of Sophiatown, tells how a man punishes his adulterous wife by ostentatiously treating her lover's empty suit as an honoured guest in their house. Set and props are minimal, and the performers slip smoothly between acting and storytelling, generating a warmth and sense of community throughout the theatre. But even whilst snuggling in such an atmosphere, one keeps wondering where it's all going, and the disappointing answer is nowhere very much.
On the press night, the slightly surprising number of older children in the audience received the show warmly, but as a good yarn rather than the life-altering experiences which previous Brook productions have been. A low-key introduction to the London International Festival of Theatre's new year-round mode of operation.
Written for divento.com
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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