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Saturday, October 13, 2012


(David Dennis as Abubaker Abrahams)

Review of production at the 2012 Witness Hilton Arts Festival by Caroline Smart

Brothers in Blood is playwright Mike van Graan at his best. Set in Cape Town, it takes a scenario involving Muslim, Christian and Jewish men and the challenges they face in co-existing with each other. Far from being a racial/religious diatribe, the play takes a compelling look at the personal lives of a father, a preacher and a doctor.

While there are dramatic vocal and physical scenes on the prejudice front, there are also some well-handled and poignant moments which the cast handle with skill and respect for the issues at hand.

The five members of the cast include David Dennis as the devout Muslim Abubaker Abrahams, Aimee Valentine as his daughter Leila and Harrison Makubalo as her friend Fadiel Suleiman. Then there’s Kurt Egelhof as Lionel Fredericks, the Christian preacher whose vision is not always shared by his community, and Brian Cohen as Conrad Kemp, the Jewish doctor, who has his own problems.

Lighting and stage design is by the award-winning Denis Hutchinson. The production is played out on a series of platforms backed by a structure of chicken wire overlaid with newspaper pages.

Superbly directed by Greg Homann and presented by ArtScape, Brothers In Blood was one of my two choices for best drama production at the 2012 Witness Hilton Arts Festival, the other being Delirium which also featured the versatile David Dennis giving his usual carefully-thought out and credible performance in a totally different role.

Brothers in Blood has been translated into Italian and was recently staged as a reading in Rome. It has also been optioned by a Scandinavian theatre for production in Swedish next year. At the end of November, van Graan’s Green Man Flashing will premiere in Spanish in Buenos Aires. – Caroline Smart