★★★★ – Witty, Endearing, Unforgettable

“Solomon and Marion” hits the studio theatre of The Rep with an edgy bang. Lara Foot’s play is set in the post-apartheid period, and the essence of her story transports us back twenty years. It does not seem too long ago, when racial differences were a hot topic in the Western World, but more so in South Africa.

“Solomon and Marion” delivers a perspective from both sides: Solomon represents a poor black boy, whose family have died, and who is, on a daily basis, fighting for survival. Marion is a white and middle-class lady who, throughout the play, is writing to her daughter Annie who is living in Australia with “a very good accountant.” – She reminds us… constantly.

For some time, Marion has felt a presence lurking in around her house. One day, Marion is rudely disturbed by a black boy, whom she claims has never met, but walks into her living room, uninvited. It turns out that she used to let him play in her pond as a young child, as she was good friends with his grandmother. A delightful and an endearing connection between them ensues with terms as: ‘My boy’ and ‘Ms Marion’ that make the audience smile with delight.

Lara Foot created a masterpiece, where she assembles humour with anger; a melancholy and monumental revelation. When Marion sees Solomon wearing her deceased son’s yellow shirt, her reaction is heart-wrenching. She cries and says to Solomon: “You’ve ruined it.” Which may cause some controversy with subtext analysis: was Marion showing a racist streak? She very quickly recovers and begs Solomon to keep it.

Dame Janet Suzman, who you might recall from watching The Singing Detective, delivers an astonishing and memorable performance. The way Janet embodies Marion with extremely well-thought of physicality and with an emotion that was as if Suzman had gone through the grief and isolation portrayed herself. Janet shines particularly at the end when she breaks down after finding out the truth of her son’s death.

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Khayalethu Anthony breaths a true embodiment of what it would have felt like to live in those harsh times. Anthony is an unexperienced actor by background, but on stage his talent matches the Dame’s, especially when enacting live the murder scene of Marion’s son. His method of talking in mother-tongue gave the play an element of outstanding sincerity.

The lighting was an effective drama tool, as it aided with the transition between happy daytime, to lonely darkness where Marion would spend all night staring at nothing. The excellent way in which the light shone through the window and when it climbed the walls as the sun was rising. The set was a masterpiece, in naturalistic terms but also it managed to create a nostalgic place for Marion to reminisce the whole life she had spent, and the one she wants to die in.

“Solomon and Marion” is at The Rep until 1st of November.

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About the author: Alex Da Silva

I am passionate person whose keen interest lends itself to Theatre. I am currently in rehearsals for the tour of Hamlet, being performed in England, Wales and Germany. I am playing Hamlet.

I am half Portuguese, hence the surname. I lived there for 17 years. Most people ask me why did I move here? Well being Gay in a catholic predominant country is not easy or recommended.