Review: Swoop

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Just in time for the school holidays, Swoop has opened at the charming and intimate Kalk Bay Theatre, a renovated church and heritage building dating back to 1876.

Aimed at children aged 6-16, this play and puppet show with an environmental message will also appeal to younger children and adults. The pace and action are fast and the humour flows with apparent ease.

Four up-and-coming actors each assume multiple roles, including as puppeteers, to tell the story of Sam, a wildly imaginative 12-year-old boy who embarks upon an adventure conveying the essentially holistic nature of life on planet earth. As the play unfolds, Sam finds a way to make his dreams a reality.

From the moment the play begins – with the homeless Jabu, played by Harrison Makubalo, leaping out of a shopping trolley – it’s clear we’re in for a lot of surprises. You’d never imagine a flock of swallows swooping over the audience in this small space, but director Pieter Bosch Botha has some clever tricks up his sleeve to make this quite believable.

This is an enchanting and amusing story, told through music, song, dance, shadow puppetry, even a few soccer moves, and some simple but clever multi-functional props. The smartly crafted puppets are a great touch. An albatross is made out of recycled plastic bags and bottles, while the swallows appear to be carved from wood.

Actors Makubalo, Iman Isaacs, Shaun Acker and Shaun Gabriel Smith are all very engaging and switch effortlessly between their various roles. Children and adults alike are sure to be swept away on Sam’s flights of fantasy, soaring high with the swallows, and being inspired to follow their own internal navigation systems: their hearts.

by Sarah Taylor

Swoop runs at the Kalk Bay Theatre until October 7 at 11am with a special dinner performance on Monday, October 1 at 8pm. Tickets cost R 60, or R 110 for the dinner show, and can be booked at www.kbt.co.za.

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