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Monday, September 21, 2009


Sylvaine Strike creates funny, clever and captivating piece of theatre.

Director Sylvaine Strike has done it again –created a funny, clever and captivating piece of theatre in Pregnant Pause, which is brought to credible and endearing life by the major acting talents of Michael Richard and Charmaine Weir-Smith. It has just played the Witness Hilton Arts Festival.

The play starts with the lively Charmaine Weir-Smith, an actress whose clarity and radiance performer always impresses, strolling along absorbing her surroundings. She starts talking in gobbledy gook. In comes Michael Richard as a fussy shy character in sports jacket and a whacky outrageous hat – a delicious image I will remember for the rest of my days! He also starts talking in gobbledy-gook and suddenly we recognise it as duck language. Meeting for the first time, they are in the park feeding the ducks.

A tender hesitant relationship develops as they find their level of communication – with many pauses (as per the title) in their dialogue. They take their marriage vows with respect, look after their home lovingly, rejoice in new pieces of furniture, plan tantalising dinner menus and enjoy the special times when they share a cup of tea – moments when “thank you” can sound like “I love you”.

Then Geoffrey (Michael) decides that he would like a baby for his birthday, Clare is at first reluctant but his love and tenderness envelopes her and she capitulates. There is an adorable scene leading up to the conception which involves the simple use of a cardigan wrapped up in stages to resemble a baby.

Into the scenario comes the boisterous doctor Gary Smith (Michael) and midwife Geraldine van Niekerk (Charmaine), both straight talking and dressed in hospital theatre gear. Geraldine, who is a stickler for punctuality, tells her class to think of the baby as a block of margarine that needs to be passed through the system. Many knowing responses from mothers in the audience – and probably a little alarm from new mothers to be!

With Michael also playing Clare’s mother in law – resplendent in caftan and bejewelled turban, the costume changes are fairly hectic. While cleverly produced with both actors handling the baby crying, I did feel that this sequence was too prolonged and could do with some editing.

You may learn a lot more about childbirth from Pregnant Pause than you might from the average ante-natal clinic - and have a lot more fun, besides! – Caroline Smart