Blonde Poison, poignant play

Daphne Kuhn is a brave theatre producer. Without any government sponsorship she occasionally takes on a deserving work without being sure that it will fill houses and pay salaries.  She does it because she feels she owes the theatre going public some really good theatre.  Blonde Poison is one of those works.  The play is about a Jewish Holocaust survivor, which makes it a heavy work.  Heavy, but never dull.

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Fiona Ramsay in Blonde Poison at the Auto and General Theatre on the Square in Sandton. Photo courtesy of the Daphne Kuhn.

Blonde Poison was written by Gail Louw, a former South African now living in London.  The script itself is superb.  It never lags.  As the plot unfolds one is struck by the deft hand of the playwright as one gets to grips with the details of this true tale in which Stella Goldschlag, an aging Jewish woman, is confronted with her past. We enter her world as we discover what she had to do in order to survive.  It is set in 1993, nearly a quarter of a century ago.

Theatre veteran, Fiona Ramsay, takes on this incredibly complex character, and in about ninety minutes, she moves from loving daughter and romantic, naive, wife through anguished mother, promiscuous beauty, desperate frightened creature and callous betrayer of her values and then back again to a vulnerable, aging woman.  We see her at the age of seventy one, in a moment of crisis, a last chance of redeeming herself and making peace with her past.  Ramsay holds us in the palms of her hands as she teases out our own thoughts on Stella Goldschlag’s life choices.

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Fiona Ramsay in the solo production of, Blond Poison, on 04 July 2016 in the National arts festival, in the Hanger, Grahamstown, South Africa. The production was directed by Janna Ramos. (Photo:CuePix/Megan Moore)

This is definitely a “Wow!” performance, and it will be one of those performances up for another Naledi nomination for Ramsay.  Blonde Poison is one of those pieces .which stays with one long after one leaves the theatre.

Directed by Janna Ramos Violante, this work is tightly crafted on stage.  The set is interesting, a series of four windows panels or windows.  Each gets used to full effect as we move from the present through memories and back to the present.  The costume changes are effective and done seamlessly. The technical team from the Auto and General Theatre on the Square are responsible for lighting and sound cues.  The sound is integral to the play and is absolutely superb.
Someone said on Facebook that if one only sees one play in 2017, this should be it.  I think, of course, that one should see much more than one play in 2017, but that this is certainly one that is worth seeing. 
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Fiona Ramsay in Blonde Poison at the Auto and General Theatre on the Square in Sandton. Photo courtesy of the Daphne Kuhn.

Blonde Poison is running at the Auto and General Theatre on the Square in Sandton until early February. I recommend this one very highly.
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About moirads

Clergy person, theatre and music lover, avid reader, foodie. Basically, I write about what I do, where I go and things I love (or hate).
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