Reviews Hanamichi brings a fresh flavour to physical theatre

Hanamichi brings a fresh flavour to physical theatre

The PJ’s stage is mostly bare.  Japanese manga art hangs in  one corner between two concealed  artworks. Sounds of a djembe drum  and flute usher the audience in,  soothing them into silence.  Hanamichi, directed by Tristan  Jacobs, is based on The Thought Fox,  a poem by Ted Hughes.

Sandi Dlangalala, Lea Vivier and Rita Hlaluka perform in Hanamichi. The Japanese influenced physical theatre retells Ted Hughes’ The Thought Fox. Photo: CuePix/Niamh Walsh-Vorster

Sandi Dlangalala, Lea Vivier
and Rita Hlaluka perform
in Hanamichi. The Japanese
influenced physical theatre retells
Ted Hughes’ The Thought Fox.
Photo: CuePix/Niamh Walsh-Vorster

Combining  aspects of traditional Japanese theatre  and Western storytelling methods,  Hanamichi explores the overwhelming  experience of writing – the isolation,  boredom, and never-endingness.  Expertly executed choreography,  particularly by Sandi Dlangalala, made  for an overall smooth and technically  sound production.

Dlangalala’s strong and quick  movements are performed with  seemingly effortless precision, so  much so that he blindsides the  audience with his acrobatic dexterity.  At one point his clumsy navigation of  a chair has the audience holding their  breath anticipating as they anticipate  a fall, but he turns a potential disaster  into a beautiful leap.

The amount of effort the five  performers spent rehearsing is  clear in the onstage relationships  between the cast-members: it’s  electric and believable. Coupled with  a minimalistic background, the score  punctuates the non-verbal characters’  movements.

Although it would have  been helpful to have Hughes’  poem on the programme,  Hanamichi allows the  audience to interpret it at  their will.  Jacobs has  masterfully combined  various elements  of theatre to  create an elegant  and refreshing  performance,  setting it apart  from a number  of other physical  theatre shows in the  programme.

Leah Solomon
Cue student reporter

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