Reviews Can’t help but join in

Can’t help but join in

Grahamstown is grey again, and the general mood is sullen. I wait outside Memory Hall, surrounded by children giggling at an abnormally high pitch. What have I gotten myself into?

(from left) Dean Balie and Sne Dladla perform in Florence and the Sugarbush Mouse at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, 03 July 2015. This family show tells the tale of a resourceful mouse who saves her town. (Photo: CuePix/ Tamani Chithambo)

(from left) Dean Balie and Sne Dladla perform in Florence and the Sugarbush Mouse at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, 03 July 2015. This family show tells the tale of a resourceful mouse who saves her town. (Photo: CuePix/ Tamani Chithambo)

Florence and Watson and the Sugarbush Mouse, written and directed by Rob van Vuuren and Danielle Boshoff, starring Sne Dladla (Florence) and Dean Balie (Watson), is aimed at children. Honey badgers Florence and Watson are an animated singing and dancing duo who tell the tale of Petal, a Sugarbush mouse with a unique talent for saving the proteas on her magical mountain.

This show brilliantly incorporates song and dance with storytelling. Dladla and Balie have beautiful voices, joining together to create smooth, goosebump-inducing harmonies. The children take turns jumping up like Jack-inthe- boxes to have a short jig to Dladla and Balie’s up-tempo, folk-blues ditties.

Their animated facial expressions – widened eyes and toothy grins – and over the-top movements entertain their young audience. They engage constantly with the children, sprinkling glitter over them and needing their help to imitate a lion’s roar. The crowd participation took a literal turn when a little boy spontaneously joined the honey badgers on stage and helped them find their storybook. He saved the day.

I was pleasantly surprised by the show. Although it caters to children, the older audience laughed as frequently as the children, myself included. Van Vuuren and Boshoff have created a piece that teaches children about hope, perseverance, and to embrace their unique attributes.

I leave the venue and put on my sunglasses. Florence, Watson and Petal have brought sunshine back to the Festival.

Leah Solomon
Cue student reporter

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