Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Review: Sophie Joans is hilarious and captivating in ÎLE

Review: Sophie Joans is hilarious and captivating in ÎLE

Award-winning show from Spark in the Dark hits Cape Town stages

I should start with a disclaimer that ÎLE is part of the Women's Month Festival that I am co-producing at The Drama Factory. However, I have had nothing to do with the creation of this play and have taken this opportunity to review it.

I'd heard a lot about ÎLE after its highly successful run at the National Arts Festival earlier this year. It won a Gold Standard Bank Ovation Award and audiences had raved about it. So, it's safe to say that my expectations were high, and the show did not disappoint.

Sophie Joans has brilliant comic timing and can build a real rapport with the audience, which is probably why she's been doing so well in the stand-up comedy circuit around Cape Town. What I really loved about ÎLE was that it felt like a bubbly, quirky mix of stand-up-style storytelling and physical theatre. I was never quite sure what to expect and what direction the story was going to go in next. Under the sharp direction of Rob van Vuuren, Joans pulls this off with grace and ease.

ÎLE is not a traditional play. It's more a series of vignettes about her relationship with her mother and how her journey to Mauritius at the age of 18 to visit her mother's family and her ancestral home shaped this relationship. The narrative twists and turns, almost like the actor is remembering different characters from her family and events from the past, and then going off on tangents before coming back to finish the story. It's somehow both beautifully rehearsed in terms of movement, mood and lighting, and still flows like a natural conversation.

My favourite part of the whole show has to be the description right at the beginning of how Mauritius came into being. Not that the play peaked at the beginning - not at all. I just felt that Joans and van Vuuren set the tone of the piece so brilliantly with the physical comedy.

ÎLE is a great watch - cheeky, irreverent, a little racy in places and from the heart.

Photo credit: Elijah-za Gengan

ÎLE has one more performance in the Women's Month Festival at The Drama Factory, in association with F Creations. This is on Saturday 20 August at 8:30pm. Tickets are R140 and can be bought at thedramafactory.co.za. The production then moves to the Avalon Auditorium at the Homecoming Centre, 22-27 August. Tickets for that are R100 and available on Quicket.

Regional Awards


From This Author - Faeron Wheeler

Faeron is a Cape Town based actor, writer and producer who has been involved in theatre since she was only three years old. She studied drama and dancing throughout school and then went on to d... (read more about this author)


Review: Sylvaine Strike's WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGNIA WOOLF? is powerful, punchy and in your faceReview: Sylvaine Strike's WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGNIA WOOLF? is powerful, punchy and in your face
September 23, 2022

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGNIA WOOLF? has to be one of the most in-your-face pieces of theatre ever written, and it’s as entertaining and relevant today as it was when it debuted 60 years ago. Under the exceptional direction of Sylvaine Strike, this incredible cast had me simultaneously wanting to hide and wanting to see more as the characters let all their dirty laundry hang out.

Review: FORDSBURG'S FINEST Takes You on An Emotional Trip Down Memory LaneReview: FORDSBURG'S FINEST Takes You on An Emotional Trip Down Memory Lane
September 12, 2022

It’s quite amazing that a script written in 1997 about a fledgling democratic South Africa can still be so relevant and haunting in 2022. FORDSBURG’S FINEST by Paul Slabolepszy delivers in heart and in asking some truly tricky questions of the characters and of the audience members.

Review: Original play SO… THAT HAPPENED is on at Milnerton PlayhouseReview: Original play SO… THAT HAPPENED is on at Milnerton Playhouse
September 9, 2022

It’s always exciting when one of the Cape Town societies puts on original work. SO… THAT HAPPENED is made even more interesting in that it’s a sequel or a follow-up from another original work. I really loved that director and writer Werner Asher Steffen and Milnerton Players were able to bring back the original cast as well.

Interview: New writer and director Molupi Lepeli talks about BACK TO ASHES and the Zabalaza FestivalInterview: New writer and director Molupi Lepeli talks about BACK TO ASHES and the Zabalaza Festival
September 5, 2022

Magnet Theatre graduate, Molupi Lepeli, is no stranger to the Baxter's Zabalaza Festival. In 2019, he won the award for Best Supporting Actor in the festival. This year, however, he took part as a writer and director, creating BACK TO ASHES. The production was nominated as one of the Finest of the Fest and will be on at the Golden Arrow Studio this month.

Interview: Sohail Booise talks about HOSTEL LIGHTS and being Finest of the Fest from ZabalazaInterview: Sohail Booise talks about HOSTEL LIGHTS and being Finest of the Fest from Zabalaza
August 31, 2022

Finest of the Fest from Baxter's Zabalaza Festival kicks off this week with Sohail Booise's HOSTEL LIGHTS. This young director also wrote and choreographed the piece. He sat down to tell us more about his experiences at the festival and this play.