The show’s run in Grahamstown last year saw director and Tuks student Gopala Davies walk away with the Standard Bank Ovation award for best student director. Grahamstown Festival director Ismail Mahomed said the Ovation awards provide “a valuable incentive for artists on the festival’s Fringe programme to strive for excellence, experiment with innovation and to challenge and shift the boundaries of creativity”.
This frightening, mysterious, intriguing and comedic journey is coupled with excellent video work which plays throughout the show on a big screen at the back of the stage. This gives the production a feeling of unpredictability. It’s easy to see why Davies won the best director award in 2014, as his creativity and directing of his cast members’ every move and word is perfectly placed. This type of physical theatre definitely pushes the boundaries of innovation with Davies’ use of original props and storytelling.
Barbe Bleue played to a capacity audience at the Lier theatre on Monday 20 July, in which the dark tale of Blue Beard, played by Cassius Davids, and how he murdered his many wives is told. Barbe Bleue examines the effect that mental illness has on relationships. The performance is experimental in nature and will be appreciated by theatre lovers with open minds. While Barbe Bleue is based on a fairy tale, it does contain nudity and images that may disturb children and sensitive viewers.
Barbe Bleue will send a wave of conflicting emotions through the minds of audience members. At certain moments in the play, you may feel as if you are being exposed to Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, while at others the play takes on the guise of a pantomime. It manages to expertly drag the audience out of their comfort zones.
Blue Beard’s various wives are played by Dené Janse van Rensburg, Chante Geary, Jo-Ann McQuirk and Tina Redman, who all deliver fantastic vocal and theatrical performances.