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Review: HOLD STILL at the Baxter Flipside Theatre pushes you to ask if you really are a good person

Review: HOLD STILL at the Baxter Flipside Theatre pushes you to ask if you really are a good person

Debut of new play by award-winning playwright Nadia Davids

HOLD STILL holds up a mirror and quite deftly questions whether or not you're as good a person as you think you are. It's a jarring question to be faced with and the four characters on stage are left reeling in the wake of getting their answers.

This is a brand-new play by award-winning playwright Nadia Davids who says she wrote it in response to her time living in London when Brexit was gaining momentum and the refugee crisis across Europe was hitting an all-time high. The concept of this script is powerful - we all want to believe that we are good people who will stand up and do the right thing when needed. However, we also have the often-overwhelming urge to protect ourselves and seek safety when times get tough. There is no easy way to look at this concept without questioning yourself intensely. What would you do if you were in this situation?

The story of HOLD STILL revolves around a family who live in upper-middle class London. You have the mother, Rosa played by Mwenya Kabwe, and the father, Ben played by Andrew Buckland. Then you have their 17-year-old son, Oliver played by Lyle October. Rosa is the daughter of South African anti-apartheid activists who went into exile when she was a small child. Ben is the son of a Jewish man who escaped the Nazis on Kindertransport as a child. They talk proudly about their heritage and how it important it is to stand up against oppression and say no to the evils at play in the world.

Their cosmopolitan life is threatened by the actions of their son, who has grown up being told about his heritage of standing up against oppression. Oliver has taken it upon himself to hide his friend, a refugee and asylum seeker, played by Tailyn Ramsamy, in their home after the youngster's appeal was denied.

Fear, anger, pain and disappointment run rampant through this piece as the couple react to the situation. Are they the people they thought they were, or have they been lying to themselves for their entire lives?

I found the concept and the story of HOLD STILL to be incredibly intriguing. It's something we should all be faced with about our own lives. However, the script felt a bit too didactic and preachy in places. It was also very wordy. In theatre, so much can be said in an action rather than using words. I also think that the actors seemed to get a bit exhausted towards the end because there was just so much to say.

The set, designed by Patrick Curtis, was brilliant. I loved the upstairs room behind a gauze window. The ocean projection and the eerie forest used at the beginning were stunningly put together. The large white wall at the back of the stage worked perfectly as part of the set and as the backdrop for the projections.

All in all, HOLD STILL is a powerful piece that asks an important question for all people to ask of themselves.

Photo credit: supplied

HOLD STILL is on at the Baxter Flipside Theatre until 19 November. Tickets are available on Webtickets and are R190 each.



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