Theatre Review: Comrades

Arts Investment Trust chose a very interesting play to debut their production house. A Zimbabwean interpretation August Strindberg’s 1888 play Comrades was always going to be an ask and as a debut the finest actors had to be on show.

Strindberg’s work is always about understated humour and the characters have to be as close to real life as possible, without being boring.

To be perfectly honest we have never really been fans of interpretations of works from other countries. It is not the interpretation that we hate but the fact that not enough is done to make it, well local. On some occasions there is a serious overkill.

With this play, we feel that the play could have sounded more Zimbabwean. The texture of the language was still old world although it did refer to places in Harare. So the audience would try to get into the play and fail to do so because the type of language was disconnected. We are not asking for a ndeip but we are sure the characters could have used a Hi.

The actors, in particular Kevin Hanssen we ere superb. His portrayal of Axel is without flaw and and this is Hanssen at his brilliant best. Rutendo Chigudu’s Bertha is complimentary although we feel that a modernised language would have made her even more superb. She does very well with what she has and plays the part of belatedly emotionally-functional Bertha. The same can be said of Privillage Mutendera and Leeroy Gono’s performances.

On the whole, the story starts of a bit slow but carries unravels beautifully from the second act. There are some issues that unsettle people in the audience as they see themselves in it and it is a credit to the cast’s delivery.

It is entertaining and provocative, with the understated arrogance slash morbidity of a Strindberg play.

A pity about the cameraman who obviously did not understand theatre and was a distraction to both the audience and the actors.

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Comrades is running at the Reps Theatre Upstairs from the 11th to the 21st of July 2012 at 19:00hrs everyday except on Sundays and Mondays. There also will be a matinee show on the 14th of July 2012 at 14:30hrs. Bookings can be done at Reps Spotlight