13 January 2006

The Travellers bound for Australia

It felt like the meeting between Fellini, Beckett and Puppetry School in Charleville-Mezieres, The Travellers is a visual theatre production which presents the darker underbelly of the Circus World, a view not always seen outside the intimate circus family. Using cartoon-like dialogue, the manipulative alcoholic MC-mother character, played by Toni Morkel, presents her twin 'off-spring' - Irving, masterfully played by Daniel Buckland and Iris, by Shelley Meskin, live on stage in her Frost Family Theatricals.

When not performing, the twins are constantly prized apart from each other's grip and told 'it's not natural' by their 'mother', but we soon realise that there's more to this relationship than meets the eye. The use of puppetry, visual theatre, mime and music give this production a naive charm which makes its appeal wide and the MC's own words "I can smell an audience" should keep the audience flocking to see this production in South Africa, Australia and wherever The Travellers might roam.

The Travellers opened this week at The Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. It all began at the South African Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July 2005, followed by a run at the Wits Theatre in Johannesburg. The director, Jacques Lecoq Theatre School graduate, Sylvaine Strike, is the recent winner of the Standard Bank 2006 Young Artist Award for Drama. Her latest play, The Travellers, is a miniature journey of astounding theatrical magnitude. Strike is an award-winning actress, producer, director and creator of such gems as Baobabs Don’t Grow Here and Black and Blue. The Travellers was the hit of the fringe at the 2005 National Arts Festival, where it was promptly invited to the Adelaide Fringe in Australia. The Cape Times called it "a little masterpiece,” while the Cape Argus said it was “a tour de force of image and minimalism,” and The Star described it as “stunningly inventive.” For information of their international schedule, contact the director, Sylvaine Strike.