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February 22, 2011

Reliving beautiful memories at the Baxter

Memory of how it feels

Photo courtesy Fahiem Stellenboom of the Baxter Theatre

The Baxter Theatre’s latest offering, Memory of How It Feels, is a thought-provoking piece about the nature of new love, both romantic and platonic.

Funny at times and unbearably sad at others, Memory of How It Feels is not for audiences looking to laugh the night away. (For that sort of evening out, head over to Marc Lottering’s Not in 3D, also at the Baxter.)

What Memory of How It Feels is, is a portrayal of those fleeting, heady, memorable moments of love – and the effect they have on the people involved.

Reminiscent of traditional Zulu love letters with secret messages between lovers encoded in the colour and arrangement of the beads, the play’s three short yet moving stories are told through brief snippets of conversation between lovers, through movement and music, that hint at the secret matters of the heart and what cannot always find expression in words.

From the mutual adoration of two musicians in Maputo to the imaginative retelling of one of the great love stories, Anthony and Cleopatra, set in 21st century Alexandria, this a journey that leaves spectators wanting more.

The cast are a troupe of talented performers. Both Apollo Ntshoko, a multi-talented actor, and Chuma Sopotela, an award-winning performance artist, are riveting to watch, but it is deaf dancer Andile Vellem who steals the limelight. His stage presence and passion is mesmerising, and he puts many hearing performers to shame.

The classical and traditional music – which Vellem feels through vibrations – is provided by composer Neo Muyanga, who makes his writing debut with this show, and a seven-piece chamber orchestra. I dare say that the music is as captivating as the performances.

Be swept away by love – long, lost and living – with Memory of How It Feels at the Baxter Theatre’s Golden Arrow Studio until March 19. Tickets are available through Computicket.

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