Robinson Crusoe Theatre Review

REPS historically is the centre of Zimbabwe’s theatre universe having been around for a while. It has played host to some amazing performances, most recently being Joseph and The Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The  Robinson Crusoe pantomime is not one of those performances.

The play presented by REPS, was well, at best poor. The classic script which has elements that should be consigned to history or at least tweaked because of the racial overtones which may have been acceptable in its day and age was not the best choice. It was completely disconnected from the audience and to be fair, it is about time REPS realised that it is in Zimbabwe.

The singing was flat, some of the timing non-existent and though there were funny bits they were corny and well, old world. It was really difficult to get through;  particularly so for me because I was sitting next to the Mayor His Worship Muchadeyi Masunda, with Spanish Ambassador Her Excellency Pilar Ferragut on the other side of him.

There were times when was not sure what was happening on stage and kids simply ran around picking a vacant space so as not to trip over. The music was dated and was probably more fun for people who were not that cool  in the 80s.

Sometimes we are prone to commending effort but to ask people to pay $15 for something that poor is unfair and an insult. We understand that this is amateur theatre and that the performers are not being paid for but unfortunately that simply does not cut it. Especially, for that price. Some of the performers have bags of potential but it is not $15 worth of potential.

Just to illustrate, when the first half was done, I didn’t know that there was a second half. When I was told there was a second half I promptly disappeared.

I guess the fact that it was a gala night and part of that $15 was going to aid the Harare City Council Library made it slightly less painful.

  • Suebolt

    Just to set the record straight, the ticket price was set by the Harare City Library as it was part of their fund raising efforts and not by Reps.
    I am sorry that this reviewer did not enjoy the production and felt it was out of touch with Zimbabweans, dated, corny and “old world”. Pantomime is by virtue of the genre, generally corny. It is not supposed to be clever or thought provoking, just good old fashioned entertainment.
    We have had extremely good houses at the pantomime this year, the majority of whom have gone away happy, having enjoyed themselves thoroughly. However, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I am pleased to see that the reviewer saw the show (albeit only the first half), but am curious as to why he has never chosen to write I review before – I have been through the blog and can find no other mention of Reps and our productions, despite the fact that we have staged more than 15 productions this year. I hope he continues to come and watch shows at Reps, thereby experiencing the full range of all the genres we present at Reps Theatre.

    • We are aware that the fee was set as this was a gala night. We are aware that REPS stages numerous plays per year. Pretty much all bar a few by private people are not originals and while some are fairly well-presented they are simply out of touch.

      It is unfortunate that the blatant racial overtones have been ignored in the play under question. In as far as art is concerned and its ability to be relevant to its audience this play fails on so many levels. Yes, one may want to argue and rather unfortunately that some of this art is not meant to be treated as a form of lesson but in the exporting of culture – which this play is about – this play serves its purpose.

      Why we have never reviewed before is because we simply haven’t. It never interested us to review theatre until recently and in reality, we felt that the level of honesty that is necessary to grow the industry – after watching Danai Gurira’s In The Continuum – was missing.

      People fear being critical for fear of victimisation.

      We believe that there is a lot of strong potential but the only way to improve people is to be honest.

      If the honesty is mistaken for malice, that is unfortunate.

      By the way, we find the fact that you responded absolutely brilliant.