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SPITFIRE (article first published : 2007-01-15)

Telephone him and Iain Robertson answers with “Ewok!”, his professional name. My first impression of this fascinating actor/writer was that he is one of Durban’s Angry Young Men - and, up to a point, he may well be. But he regards his hip-hop rant Spitfire as more an examination of ideas.

Spitfire is currently appearing on the Musho! Festival of one/two-person works of theatre.

Iain and his sister grew up in a home sans television; they were encouraged to think for themselves, rather than have their opinions formed for them by the insidious indoctrinator.

In Spitfire, Ewok certainly spits fire as he takes his audience on a rollercoaster ride of thought-provoking analysis of what goes on around us. At a blistering pace, he first suggests that, children having been born “blind”, it is the sinister aim of Authority - in the guise of the state, education, the media etc. to keep mankind blind by forming our opinions for us. He examines the devastating role that Capitalism, and particularly third-world debt has had on the “developing” world - and shoots off at a tangent to “discuss” George W. Bush and the role he plays in a different kind of devastation.

His foray into the touchy subject of graffiti, which this 60-something reviewer regards unreservedly as vandalism, had me bristling somewhat. But as a graffiti artist himself, Ewok does not promote the practice; he explores why people choose to occupy themselves in this way.

This hour-long, meticulously rehearsed and cleverly thought-provoking performance has to be Ewok’s tour de force. Brilliantly articulate and faultlessly presented at a truly cracking pace, the actor never prescribes … he merely suggests, allowing us to form our own opinions.

Spitfire will be performed again on January 20 at the Kwasuka at 18h00. Do yourself a favour and get there to experience a rising talent. – Frank Graham




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