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Sunday, March 22, 2015


(Sivani Chinappan & Cindy Naidoo Baijoo. Pic by Jade Maskell)

A thought-provoking and emotional experience, well-crafted and presented through speech, text and dance. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Writer and director Verne Rowin Munsamy was inspired to create his latest production, Slipped Through My Fingers by the challenges of friends and colleagues who were hearing-impaired or autistic.

The show is choreographed by Sivani Chinappan who stars alongside Cindy Naidoo Baijoo, who is herself hearing-impaired. Well-crafted and presented through speech, written text, sign language and dance, this is a thought-provoking and emotional experience made all the more riveting by Chinappan’s impeccable performance.

The play opens with the daughter (who is hearing impaired) listlessly sifting through suitcases of clothes. The set is simple with only a sofa. Behind this is a massive painted window which becomes a screen upon which written text allows us to read the daughter’s thoughts and feelings about not being able to hear. We engage with her frustrations at the way many people tend to treat those with physical or mental disabilities when she asks for respect and understanding. Among the most telling phrases were the words: Don’t let your ignorance define your actions.”

Mother (played by Chinappan) arrives, elegant and beautifully dressed. She has come to her estranged daughter’s home to pay her respects to her late son-in-law. We only discover the reason for his death later, in a very poignant scene.

Mother is not welcome. Her daughter rejects her, blaming her for discriminating against her as a child because she could not hear. She also accuses her for taking so long to visit.

As much as mother apologises, daughter accuses, every indictment guaranteed to hit where it hurts most. Mother tries to explain that things may not have been what they seemed and that there were logical and reasonable answers for her actions but daughter refuses to accept them. When mother can’t find words, she expresses her emotions through the power of dance. Chinappan is an accomplished classical Indian dancer, a form in which she is able to use her considerable expressive talents.

Modestly dressed in contrast to the opulence of her mother’s outfit, Cindy Naidoo Baijoo gains the audience’s sympathy from the start. Her initial anger and need to further damage her relationship with her mother becomes clear towards the end of the play. I do hope that Baijoo gets more performance opportunities such as this one as she handled her role with sensitivity.

With Slipped Through My Fingers, Verne Rowin Munsamy has added an impressive and valuable new work to his repertoire. The production runs at the Catalina Theatre until March 29 at 19h00 weekdays and at 14h00 on Saturday and Sundays (no shows Mondays and Tuesdays). Ticket prices R80 and R100. For bookings contact 031 837 5999 or Computicket.  – Caroline Smart