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Thursday, July 7, 2016


(Reviews from the artSMart team currently in Grahamstown at the 2016 National Arts Festival)

(Rob van Vuuren)

Rob van Vuuren proves once again that he is a master of his craft. (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy)

One of the many recipients of a Standard Bank Ovation award this year at the Fest, Dangled (showing at St Andrews Hall), written and performed by Rob van Vuuren, draws us into the manic, psychotic mind of a rapist and a killer. We are greeted by a scribing van Vuuren who is trapped within, not just his mind, but also by the surroundings of a grey prison cell, equipped with a window, window ledge, table and a chair. This confined cell becomes the backdrop for the unfolding and rationalisation by a crazy man of his brutal actions.

Rob van Vuuren, an alumni of Rhodes University, is known for bringing numerous shows to the festival and this year is no different. He has his hand in over 15 shows and in Dangled he proves once again that he is a master of his craft. His refined facial expression and physical mannerism are imaginative and they immerse you in a world that seems, at first, manic but hysterical; however, one suddenly realises that this disturbingly funny encounter is actually the menacing stalking, rape and consequent killing of a woman by a man with disturbing fetishes.

Van Vuuren plays a man on death row, waiting to be hanged for his acts. He begins to reveal a story, which at first seems like a love story but then turns into a thrilling, crude and brutal masterpiece. The conversations, threesomes and sexual explorations of these dark fetishes with a table, chair and window, depict actions that land him on death row. Sophie, his boss’ daughter, was the victim to his demented thoughts and Oedipus Rex sexual experience which he recalls about his mother. His recounts are crude and honest and audiences leave dispelled by the brutal truth.

Although different from his usual humour and story-telling writings, this piece still has audiences lining outside the doors and raving about the thrilling experience that was Dangled. Rob van Vuuren is well-deserving of the Ovation awarded to him.

Directed by Jaco Bouwer, Dangled has two more performances at St Andrew’s Hall – on July 8 and 9 at 12h00. - Verne Rowin Munsamy

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