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Friday, July 8, 2016


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

The show is conceptually unique and extraordinary, simply magical! (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy)

The National Arts Festival and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) present A Conspiracy Of Clowns’ production of The Standard Bank Ovation Award winning piece, The Heart’s Hotel.

Devised by and featuring Toni Morkel, KhutJo Bakunzi-Green and Liezl de Kock, it tells the story of three characters from far north, resembling Vikings, who are left destitute and travel to an address written on a piece of brown paper. As they make their way to salvation, the three - a woman (Vicky), her mother and their infant daughter – head for the address of a hotel, The Heart’s Hotel.

The daughter is a puppet, made of brown paper. We are led to feel for this piece of paper when she tragically falls ill through the emotional connection and fantastic, taunting, manipulation by the actress, Bakunzi-Green. She is so captivating that we suspend disbelief long enough to imagine this rolled-up paper as a child.

The brown paper is a prominent feature as the entire set is made up of brown paper and, like black ink to paper, the story is scribed to us. Images are projected onto the paper as well as shadow puppets, taking us into the world of these three strangers, trying to prosper after tragedy.

The NAF programme rightly describes the piece: “Skidding from comedy to heartache in a delicious blend of visual and physical theatre, The Heart’s Hotel is a coming-of-age story of a young woman forced to seek a balance between her wild imagination and the sober embrace of reality”.

The show is conceptually unique and extraordinary, simply magical! - Verne Rowin Munsamy

There is one more performance of The Heart’s Hotel tomorrow (July 9) at 15h00 in the Glennie Hall.

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