Theatre Everyone’s cup of tea

Everyone’s cup of tea

“We are inspired by human behaviour. It’s about you guys,” say the Dutch performers, pointing at their small but enthusiastic audience. The two women were engaging in a short Q&A session with audience members after their sell-out show, Tea. The intimate venue at the Oatlands School Hall was perfectly suited for this quirky performance that displayed physical theatre of the highest standard.

Billed as family fare, the age spectrum was indeed well represented, and quite a few children were amongst those asking questions. The 45-minute play could certainly be enjoyed at many levels, as the sisters in the story acted out the scene of their re-acquaintance with uncannily accurate facial expressions and physical movements of pinpoint precision. The performance manages to be at once farcical and believable, testimony to the actors’ ability to balance comedy and pathos.

The actors make great use of the space at their disposal, with much of the action taking place on top of the two tables that dominate the performance area. This includes a duel involving the ingredients for making tea, as well as a short tap dance. The pose held by the one sister who is frozen into position after the kettle is emptied on her, and then is manipulated like a mannequin by the other, is nothing short of brilliant (and also very amusing).

The piece has a very European feel to it, but that is surely the point of cultural collaborations such as this one between the National Arts Festival and the Dutch performing company Poolse Vis. It provides a great opportunity for Festival-goers to experience theatre of a different ilk.

Cathy Gush
Cue guest writer

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