national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, July 4, 2015


(Reviews from the artSMart team currently in Grahamstown at the 2015 National Arts Festival)

Visual, physical and puppet theatre create a gripping story. (Review by Khinali Bagwandeen)

Rhodes University is commonly viewed as the heart of Grahamstown, and with one of the strongest drama departments in South Africa, their student production Void was eagerly awaited by many.

The captivating story takes place in a time where the world we know of has been destroyed and all that is left is the frightening and unfamiliar remains of the past. The plot revolves around two main characters, a middle-aged man who might seem like a protective hoarder of things from the world in the past and a young woman who is in pursuit of answers and something bigger. Despite her original goal, she becomes quite enthralled by the ‘stuff’ the man keeps.

The character of the man is played by two actors, Tyson Ngubeni and Shaun Sankey. With the use of a puppet, the two actors merge into one, sharing a distinctive relationship, almost separating his thoughts and his actions from each other.

The two key characters forge a friendship that generates a very unfamiliar association between them, it is rather boisterous and affectionate. At some times it varies on a scale from valuable and harmful to the survival and emotional wellbeing of both. This friendship is bounced back forth with the use of humour and drama, tapping into the emotions of the audience. The underlying themes relationships and the attachment of the past is something we all can openly relate to.

Directors Natalie Ehlers and Ameera Najwa Mills combine visual, physical and puppet theatre to create a gripping story together with a cast of boundless talent and outstanding capabilities. The effort and time put into this production is evident and the attention to detail is exceptional.

Most audiences will walk into the production expecting a lot and surely will not be disappointed. Void has one more performance at The Rehearsal Room- Monument Building tomorrow (July 4) at 14h30. - Khinali Bagwandeen

For more information on the National Arts Festival click on the banner advert at the top of this page or visit