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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 VAGABOND AT KWASUKA (article first published : 2000-10-20)

Put together two incisive minds, given to the unusual pursuit of original thinking, the chances are there’ll be more than a spark or two to enliven and dazzle onlookers. Here the atmosphere could not have been more electric. In their production The Vagabond, two high-profile Durban personalities, musician-actor Juan Burgers and civil rights lawyer Jenny Wild, joined forces to give us an hour or so of song, poetry and discourse that left the audience intellectually engrossed and musically spell bound. The Vagabond forms part of the innovative Slice of Madness running at Kwasuka Theatre throughout October.

Vaughan Williams’ nine Songs of Travel set to poems by Robert Louis Stevenson opened the programme. The touching simplicity of Wild’s readings off-set the performances of the multi-talented Burgers, who brought a life-time’s experience to bear in these infinitely moving songs, his burnished baritone and air-borne keyboard technique fully at their service. It is difficult to single out moments in this great cycle, but the almost unbearably moving Let Beauty Awake and Bright is the Ring of Words linger on.

With the stage to himself, Burgers turned nasty to superb effect, giving us moments of both Shakespeare’s and Verdi’s Iago (Othello). Wild returned for an impromptu interlude of poetry, preceded by some hard-hitting but lightly delivered thoughts on life around. The evening closed with the duo again in tandem for three of Shakespeare’s most famous poems, Who is Sylvia, O Mistress Mine and It Was a Lover and his Lass - William Charlton-Perkins.

You can catch the final performance of The Vagabond on October 22 at 18h30.




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