Theatre review: The South Afreakins

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Written and performed by Robyn Paterson, this touching, funny domestic drama follows a middle-class South African couple as they attempt to tackle their approaching old age.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Spotlites (Venue 278)

Gordon is freshly retired and just wants to sit and take stock for a bit; his wife Helene is bouncing off the walls of their fortified home outside the city, and wants to use their newfound freedom from commitment to get out and see the world.

Paterson isn’t afraid of showing her characters warts and all – Helene clearly has some issues with race to work through, while Gordon, despite not so obviously sharing Helene’s prejudices, still regards the outside world with some distrust. It’s a product of solid writing that these faults aren’t just tacked on to make the couple interesting – their fears are deeply woven into the narrative’s past and present, providing it with a solid foundation and guiding it truthfully towards its well-constructed conclusion.

It’s a very low-key production – nothing in the set or staging will blow you away, and the story isn’t interested in exploring far beyond the intimate lives of these two figures – but the warm characterisation and humour make for a charming, engaging hour of storytelling.

Until 28 August. Today 2pm.

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