n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - : sovereign insomnia and in Afrikaans : theatre review

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-582X



When Marthinus Basson's adaptation of opened at the Baxter Theatre, it had already enjoyed successful runs on the festival circuit, where it had amassed awards for best actor (Dawid Minnaar), best actress (Anna-Mart van der Merwe), best supporting actor (Charlton George), best director, best design and best production, amongst others. Veteran actor Dawid Minnaar in the title role was supported by three doyennes of Afrikaans theatre: Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Jana Cilliers and Antoinette Kellerman. For most of the Baxter performances, Charlton George was replaced by André Roothman, but the rest of the original cast remained unchanged. Reviews of the production in mainstream publications had been almost unanimously positive. To many members of Basson's Baxter audience the prospect of a thought-provoking and stimulating theatre experience would therefore have seemed almost guaranteed. But the two performances I attended received polite applause rather than standing ovations, and there seemed to be very little connection between the rave reviews and the lukewarm audience response.

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