[Theatre/Music ~ WORLD PREMIERE ~ Sa]
The Lab, Thu 11 Mar.
The South Australian Playwrights Theatre is a relatively new contributor to the South Australian arts scene and has done everyone a favour in assembling this talented group. The Deep North is a musical set in South Australia’s ‘deep north’ and tells the tale of a group of Ugandan migrants struggling to find their place in a new land.
It is performed in a wonderful new space that allows projected images on 3 of the 4 walls that encompass the space and almost allows for a theatre in the round experience. The visual impact is immediate. Even the static opening projection fills the space with a light and colour that is quite tantalising.
This show offers a feast of musical variety from uplifting melodic vocal numbers that thrive on multiple voices, traditional African folk songs, rap, and even a little Bach. Many of the songs are composed by James Bannah Jr. He masterfully choreographs the live performances of the songs from his keyboard on the sidelines and provides a constant background soundscape throughout. (As effective as this was, it was occasionally a bit loud and perhaps too pervasive.)
The use of projected images was fantastic. Flipping between famous faces and places from Australia and Africa they added an entire other dimension to the performance. The collage of Adelaide statues superimposed over scenes of Australian law courts was especially impressive.
This was such an exhilarating show. Good solid performances from the whole cast. Pontsho Nthupi was quite bewitching as the person determined to break free from tradition and start a new life, and Stephen Tongun did a great job as a preacher trying to earn the respect of both Ugandan youth and his new Australian community.
A really joyful experience – great venue, great music, great performances.
The Deep North continues at The Lab, at various times, until Sun 21 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.