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THE SUICIDE KING (article first published : 2007-01-19)

I continue to take my hat off to the young thespians in this town who, in the absence of much “formal” theatre have gotten on with it and written and performed their own material.

Just such a one is the irrepressible Marc Kay who on January 17 premiered his The Suicide King at Kwasuka Theatre as part of the Musho! Fringe Festival.

One of the late, great Tom Meehan’s dictums was: “make what you know work for you” – and, as a professional online poker player, this is what he has done with his two-hander script featuring himself and colleague Clinton Small.

One didn’t have to know a great deal about poker, but some explanatory notes in the programme helped. What enfolded in front of an enthusiastic (and, admittedly, partisan) audience was a drama which evolved into a thriller and the tension built nicely. The denouement was thoroughly satisfactory to all concerned - Marc’s closing words were to the effect he knew we all wanted a happy ending!

Our exuberant young players worked well together, the dialogue flashing back and forth at a cracking pace. A tendency towards self-indulgence led to adlibbing and the employment of in-jokes which can baffle most of the audience; such indiscipline can lead to the cast having more fun than the audience, which - in this reviewer’s opinion - is as unforgivable as “corpsing”.

Clinton Small has a magnificent voice - Marc’s hardly any less so - but there was an imbalance which caused the latter, when not fully focusing, to become almost inaudible.

The use of accents became erratic at times as the players danced between characters. Small’s Russian accent was passable but Barovsky could have been far more sinister (for the purposes of building tension) I feel he could have achieved this by slowing down without losing any energy.

Unfortunately music cues were spoilt by a largely unco-operative CD player - one of those things sent to try us …

All in all a worthy and commendable effort; I salute Marc and Clinton for an enjoyable performance. - Frank Graham

For more information on Musho! Festival, visit www.mushofestival.co.za




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