Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: reviews

Song And Dance Reviews

What the critics are saying. Artslink:

Kelly Lodewyks: Two would-be burglars break into an apartment that doesn’t quite meet their expectations.

It slowly dawns on them that this is not the apartment of the rich man they had targeted, and drama soon unfolds as the tenant returns home to find the pair of criminals in her house. So starts the comic Song & Dance written by theatre exponent extraordinaire Megan Furniss.

Currently running at the Kalk Bay Theatre, Song & Dance is a fast-paced slapstick look at crime in South Africa, which pokes fun at reality shows and local celebrities. It’s easy to sympathise with the characters as they expose their inner thoughts and vulnerabilities, and as they realise of each other that there is more than meets the eye. We even find ourselves rooting for these so-called bad guys as the show progresses and we come to recognise that everyone is simply doing what they can to get by in life.

The directorial debut of Ntombi Makhutshi (of London Road fame) Song & Dance sees Deon Nebulane, Anele Situlweni and Zondwa Njokweni deliver the three characters with such passion and conviction that when you see them after the show, it’s difficult to separate them from their roles.

The set, by contrast, is minimal with only a few furniture items and no dramatic backdrop or lighting. When sound is used, it is more than ample to put viewers right there in the room and in the shoes of the characters on stage.

Despite the comedy of the story, it hits close to home. It addresses very real issues, but in a light-hearted way. Thoughtful, creative and funny, Song & Dance serves to show that sometimes we are allowed to laugh when things go wrong. A very ‘South African’ piece, it nonetheless has the potential to cross international borders just as easily as it crosses race and language boundaries. This is a show that will appeal to everyone.

Song & Dance was runner up in the regional PANSA (Performing Arts Network of South Africa) playwriting competition and is on its way to the Grahamstown Arts Festival later this year. Catch it right now at the Kalk Bay Theatre.

And Clifford Graham from Monday Missile:

On it’s way to the National Arts Festival fringe in Grahamstown, where it is sure to be a hit, Megan Furniss’s new play Song and Dance has a preview run at the Kalk Bay Theatre. Given Megan Furniss’s impressive credentials as a theatre-maker, and sharp sense of comedy, it’s little wonder that this play is off to a good start.
A bungled burglary, two hapless would be thieves find themselves in the wrong apartment. The targeted victim lives next door! Instead, the current resident comes home to find the thieves scratching their heads at the lack of valuable pickings in her flat. This in itself  sets a scenario for much mirth, but soon things develop into an even more bizarre situation. From being caught red handed, what ensues is a hilarious look at life in South Africa. Even Gareth Cliff gets a mention. Ntombi Makhutshi directs an impressive ensemble in Anele Situlweni, Deon Nebulane and Zondwa Njokweni. I have to say I was amazed by Zondwa Njokweni’s antics in an impressive looking pair of heels. Anele Situlweni and  Deon Nebulane as the bungling burglars have enough home grown buffoonery in them to keep an audience laughing for Africa. Happily the comedy is contained making it all the more plausible. Song and Dance while being something of a dark comedy does provide an opportunity to see a typically South African issue in a different light.
Simon Cooper of KBT productions has done well to spot the potential of this play. It’s sure to do well wherever it is staged
Song and Dance may make you feel a little uncomfortable at times, given the regularity of house breaking in South Africa, but the comedy that ensues from the situation will keep you laughing long after the inevitable rousing applause.

Rose tinted theatre glasses

After a self-questioning week, I’ve thought a lot about theatre, theatre reviewing, and the problems that both face. I’ve got some pretty radical ideas about how these little worlds play out, and I’ve decided that however dependent they are on each other they are also responsible for each others’ downfall. Let me explain.

A couple of months back I had a confidential chat with someone who sees a ton of theatre and writes about everything he sees. I must point out that he is independent, not writing for money or for a boss. He also puts out press releases and operates as a platform to generate publicity. I see him at every opening night I’m at. (He goes to them all, I’m sure. I only go to the ones I am invited to). This man confessed to not being able to write a review in which he said that the production (or even aspects of it) were bad. He just couldn’t manage the bad publicity this would create and he doesn’t want to be responsible for any production’s lack of success. So he writes good stuff about whatever he sees. I think that this is bullshit. The whole point about reading someone’s opinion, a review, a crit, is to get a sense of whether that person thought the thing was good or bad, or even in between. I tried in vain to make my point. As far as he was concerned, there is so little theatre and the theatre-going audience is so small they should be encouraged to see everything.

I left the discussion fuming. I could not possibly recommend that others see something that is, in my opinion, rubbish. And that comes with its own price. I am known as harsh, a bitch, and even somebody who hates everything she sees. Which of course is totally untrue; in general I like much more than I don’t, and mostly there will be aspects of a production that I like and stuff that I don’t.

I am often astounded by what I call “Emperor’s new clothes” reviews. These are reviews where it feels like the critic has been star struck or is in awe of one or other famous star, the director, the management, or even the writer. It’s as if there is no possibility that the production could be anything other than amazing and so therefore, it is. Two productions (one which I saw and one which I didn’t) got rave reviews across the board for these kinds of reasons. The production I saw was horrible, and the one everybody secretly spoke about sounded like hell and boredom combined. Because it feels like everybody in this town is too shit scared to own up and write that a production was bad, performers and directors believe that their mediocre, or unoriginal or boring work is good enough, and then they attack anyone brave enough to say anything against it. When I write an honest, harsh review about something I don’t like, and justify it, I am the baddie, not the production.

This is so dangerous because people believe what they read. Our industry is a fragile one, and I want to be sure people know what they are getting. I hate the idea of the ordinary somebody going so see something that has been given glowing reviews, and they sit there thinking, is it me? Am I dof? Am I the only one who thinks this is boring/bad/ridiculous?

If reviewers and critics aren’t owning up and telling the hard truth then what’s the point of them at all? Might as well just print the self-promoting press release. Oh, wait, somebody actually did that in Grahamstown, and passed off chunks of the press release as their very own review. They saw in the show everything the press release said about the show. Now the actors think they’re conveying it. Those in the audience who aren’t seeing it either feel like idiots or bitches. And they all follow the first arsehole who stands.

It makes me depressed. And sad. And gek. There is a good part to this though. Whenever I say I loved something, or even liked something, or even part of something, whoever reads what I wrote will know that I mean it.


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