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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE LOVER (article first published : 2008-08-2; last edited : [an error occurred while processing this directive])

Fett Diva Productions is presenting a limited festival of two classics of western theatre at the Square Space Theatre on the UKZN campus. These are Marsha Normanís Night, Mother and Harold Pinterís The Lover, described as two exceptional examples of the art of the stage, filled with intensity, intrigue, and incisive human commentary.

Fett Diva is made up of two of Durbanís finest talents - actresses Josette Eales and Janna Ramos Violante Ė who have delighted youngsters with their two-hander childrenís theatre pieces as well as adult audiences as individual performers in a wide range of productions. This short festival is to be commended and I sincerely hope they will continue to present them.

Tonight I saw The Lover which is directed by Tamar Meskin and features Josette Eales and Liam Magner as well as Rowin Munsamy. With Harold Pinter as playwright, you know you can expect an excellent and thought-provoking script. Nothing is as it seems. However, for those unfamiliar with the play, I donít wish to give the game away but know that this tale of a married couple finding their individual emotional and sexual satisfaction is very witty and clever while at the same time offering physical drama and suspense.

Pinterís works need to be handled with intelligent, insight and clarity Ė letting the storyline take its own course without manipulation for effectís sake. Under Tamar Meskinís skilful direction, Josette Eales and Liam Magner take us through the twists and turns of The Lover providing a fulfilling eveningís entertaining, with the added attraction of music links by saxophonist Jonathan Judge.

Josetteís moods and costuming take her from an elegant sophisticated socialite to a simple-stay-at-home to a power-dressed vamp, all of which she does with consummate ease and style. Liam further extended the talents weíve seen in Neon Anthems and his one-man show Spun by proving that he is an accomplished actor in a straight drama. He has a distinctive way of delivering a line to the point where you think itís going to implode but it continues to its destination without losing effect. Rowin Munsamy plays the small but important role of the milkman, created by Pinter to throw us off the scent!

Stephen Woodroffe has transformed the Square Space into a multi-level and highly effective set. I deliberately sat on the side in order to see how the cast coped with performing in the round (well, to three sides, really) and, apart from the saxophonist obscuring my vision once or twice, I was impressed with Tamarís direction of movement. I look forward to seeing The Loverís companion piece tomorrow night (see review on these pages) to discover how Steven has utilised the space for this production.

The Lover will be performed at the Square Space Theatre, UKZN at 19h30 on August 1, 3, 6, 8 and 10. Tickets R50 (R40 students, scholars, pensioners or for block bookings over 10). For bookings or any further information, contact Claudette Wagner on 031 260 3133, or Josette on 083 672 7732 or Janna on 078 331 6746 (after hours).

NB: Due to the explicit nature of the plays, it is not recommended for children under the age of 16. - Caroline Smart




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